Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc. announced Monday it will acquire Premier Trust Inc. to boost access for its financial advisors to trust services and to expand its commitment to its independent broker-dealer platform.

Ladenburg is buying the Nevada-chartered trust company, which offers wealth management services, estate and financial planning, custody and investment services, from Western Alliance Bancorporation. The price of the deal was not disclosed. Premier is a based in Las Vegas and has more than $520 million of assets under administration.

Ladenburg is not alone. Stifel Financial Corp announced Monday it will buy rival Thomas Weisel Partners Group Inc., a move that aligns with the U.S. investment bank’s plan to expand its investment banking and capital markets businesses.

The financial services industry in the United States should expect to see more mergers and acquisitions this year, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers, as industry fundamentals improve and clarity around regulatory reform pushes companies to pursue more deals.

After the Ladenburg/Premier Trust acquisition is completed, Mark Dreschler, Premier's president and chief executive officer, and the rest of its management team will continue to operate Premier from its Las Vegas headquarters. Robert Bruderman, a member of Ladenburg's management committee and one of the founders of Ladenburg's Triad Advisors subsidiary, will serve as Premier’s chairman.

“The addition of Premier will allow Ladenburg's network of independent financial advisors to have unparalleled access to a broad array of trust services,” Phillip Frost, Ladenburg’s chairman, said in a statement. “This transaction demonstrates Ladenburg's ongoing commitment to expanding its independent broker-dealer platform and increasing the products and services we offer our growing client base.”

Richard Lampen, Ladenburg’s president and chief executive officer, said in a statement that by offering trust services to its network of independent financial advisors the company will gain a competitive edge and raise its level of client service. “This transaction is an important strategic step as our independent brokers seek to become the 'go to' advisor for their clients on all financial matters,” he said.

The transaction is expected to close this quarter.


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