Planning firms ended October amid a flurry of deal-making.

In one of the week's biggest transactions, independent broker-dealer First Allied said it had entered into an agreement to acquire The Legend Group, based in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., from mutual fund company Waddell & Reed.

While First Allied said Legend will continue to operate under its own name, the deal creates a combined firm with about 1,400 advisors and $28 billion in assets under management. It also pairs Legend's retirement expertise with First Allied's broader brokerage business, says First Allied chairman Joel Marks.

"They have some unique product sets," Marks says. "They have a lot of expertise when it comes to retirement planning and asset management."

The deal is not a cost-cutting move, he adds. "Size does matter. We'll have greater critical mass, greater purchasing power -- we can spread our costs over a larger base of clients and advisors."

The deal is expected to close in early 2013, pending regulatory approval. Waddell bought Legend  in early 2000, paying  $75 million, according to Privco. The publicly traded company took a writedown of $42.4 million related to the deal, suggesting the sale price was near $33 million.  Marks declined to confirm the price tag for the deal.

Sequoia Financial Buys Florida Firm

Among the other deals this week: Sequoia Financial Group announced it had acquired Hammerman & Strickland, an independent RIA firm based in Lutz, Fla.

The deal -- Sequoia's third acquisition in three years -- brings in $91 million in client assets, bringing total assets under advisement to more than $1.2 billion. Sequoia, which has offices in Ohio and Florida, also acquires clients in Washington, D.C., and Southern California -- both new markets for Sequoia -- as well as new accounts in Florida.

The deal was part of a succession-planning strategy for Hammerman & Strickland, the firms say, and founding principals Howard Hammerman and Mike Strickland will remain accessible during the client transition period.

Mariner Partners With Cincinanati's Riverpoint

Additionally, Mariner Wealth Advisors, based in Leawood, Kan., announced a partnership this week with RiverPoint Capital Management, in Cincinnati.

The RiverPoint team includes 17 wealth management professionals, including eight advisors, and $1.3 billion in AUM. The deal brings the combined group's AUM to $5.6 billion.

Mariner CEO Martin Bicknell ranked No. 7 on Barron's 2012 list of top 100 financial advisors.

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