Alera Group quadruples its assets under management with the acquisition of Wharton Business Group
Alera Group Wealth Services, a growing division of national insurance and financial services company Alera Group, today announced the acquisition of Wharton Business Group, an employee-owned RIA in Malvern, Pa., which manages over $3.5 billion in assets for business owners and establishments
The deal takes Alera’s investment advisory arm from $1.2 billion to $4.7 billion in assets under management. The terms of the contract are not disclosed.
“The team shares our fierce commitment to collaborate, and we look forward to leveraging his expertise to strengthen our existing wealth management services and national presence.said Alera CEO Alan Levitz.
Founded in 2017 with backing from private equity firm Genstar Capital, Alera has brought together 24 property and casualty insurance, pension and wealth management firms, and combined revenue of $150 million. The integrated company now generates approximately $1 billion in revenue with more than 130 offices nationwide.
The company is now focusing on wealth management, with the goal of growing both assets and geographic reach, executives said.
“We recognize that there is an ability to meet customer needs in a multifaceted way,” Alera explained. Tina Hohman, Executive Vice President and Practice Leader of Wealth Management Services.
Founded in 1992, WBG specializes in investment advisory and business continuity services, including leadership succession and estate planning – typically working alongside other business owners’ advisors. Investment services include portfolio evaluation, investment policy development, manager selection, security selection, ongoing active management, portfolio rebalancing and investment cost analysis.
Under Alera, WBG will retain its brand and control over investment strategies, while utilizing Alera’s back-office capabilities.
According to BJ Webster, Founder and Managing Director of WBG’s three-person team, the need for internal succession planning and Alera’s business structure were key factors in the decision to enter into the partnership.
“We can’t very well go out and preach succession and leadership planning without doing it ourselves,” he said. “And it’s very important to be responsible for what you’ve built. That’s what we’re doing here.
“We have a very focused strategy and a great team,” Webster said. “As being part of the Alera group, we will continue to provide these services, but we may also offer to connect clients to a network of experts and advisors in other planning areas whose interests are aligned with theirs.
“Alera is emerging as a major future player in the RIA space,” according to David DeVoe, CEO and founder of RIA strategy and advisory firm M&A DeVoe and Co., who served as WBG’s sole financial advisor while throughout the transaction.
Noting the positive benefits for both parties, he said, “This level of a transaction helps them take their wealth management business to the next level.”
“WBG represents the type of company we want to partner with,” Hohman said. She said Alera will continue to acquire wealth management companies, seeking those with unique investment strategies, niche expertise, and will focus on geographies already served by other business divisions. ‘Alera.
Alera hopes to grow its wealth management services arm to $10 billion in assets under management over the next year, she said. With an existing RIA firm based in the Midwest, the addition of WBG brings a wealth management foothold to the Mid-Atlantic region and, she said, opportunities have already been identified in the Northeast.
“So we are really focusing on the West, South Central and South East regions for larger companies to acquire and partner with our existing offices and other divisions,” he said. she stated.