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Wealthspire Advisors Buys Californian Firm

Tom Burrroughes

23 November 2021

Wealthspire Advisors, which is owned by US insurance brokerage NFP, has signed a definitive agreement to buy Private Ocean, a fiduciary wealth management firm with $2.7 billion in assets.

Private Ocean is based in San Rafael, California, with additional offices in San Francisco and Seattle.

The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2021, subject to customary approvals and closing conditions.

“This is a significant way to plant a flag on the West Coast and demonstrate our growing national scope,” Wealthspire chief executive Mike LaMena said in a statement yesterday.
The deal follows Wealthspire’s recent agreement to acquire Private Capital Group, a $1 billion registered investment advisor based in West Hartford, Connecticut. After both transactions are complete, Wealthspire expects to be overseeing assets of about $17 billion and have 18 offices across the country.

Such transactions highlight continued vigor in the North American wealth management M&A arena, driven by a battle to win economies of scale, boost resources to pay for digitalization, compliance and rising client demands, as well a number of firms’ owners planning to retire.

Founded in 2009, Private Ocean melded two of the oldest privately-held wealth management firms in the San Francisco Bay Area – Salient Wealth Management and Friedman & Associates. The firm also acquired Lakeview Financial in Seattle and Mosaic Financial Partners in San Francisco.

Greg Friedman, CEO and founder of Private Ocean, is the author of three books for financial advisors and leaders, including two on RIA mergers and acquisitions.

The asset and wealth management investment banking group of Raymond James served as financial advisor and Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP served as legal counsel to Private Ocean. Ropes & Gray LLP served as legal counsel to NFP and Wealthspire.