Meet the Familiar Next Owner of Cetera
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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Meet the Familiar Next Owner of Cetera

A giant independent broker-dealer network supporting nearly 8,000 financial advisors is about to have a new parent, one that should be familiar to fundsters.

Yesterday RJ Moore, CEO of Los Angeles-based Cetera Financial Group, confirmed that San Francisco-based Genstar Capital has agreed to buy a majority stake in Cetera from Cetera's holding company, Aretec Group. Cetera's leadership team is expected to hang onto "a meaningful ownership position." Cetera's B-Ds include: Cetera Advisors, Cetera Advisor Networks, Cetera Investment Services (dba Cetera Financial Institutions), Cetera Financial Specialists, First Allied Securities, and Summit Brokerage Services.

AdvisorHub, Barron's, Bloomberg, Financial Planning, InvestmentNews, ThinkAdvisor, and all reported on the deal.

Pricing and terms of the deal were not disclosed. It is expected to close later in this quarter. Goldman Sachs advised Cetera on the deal, while UBS and Deutsche Bank advised Genstar. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom provided legal counsel to Cetera, and Willkie Farr & Gallagher provided legal counsel to Genstar.

30-year-old Genstar now has $9.7 billion in AUM. Fundsters may already be familiar with several of Genstar's portfolio companies. In 2013, Genstar and Aquiline Capital Partners bought a liquid alternative mutual fund shop, Altegris, which merged with online alternative investing platform Artivest last month while keeping all backers (including Genstar) on board. In 2014 Genstar bought Strategic Insight, an asset management data giant. In 2015, Genstar and Aquiline teamed up again to buy Ascensus, an independent 401(k) recordkeeper and 529 provider, though Ascensus is now rumored to be on the block. Also in 2015, Genstar acquired Mercer Advisors, an independent RIA. And in 2016 Aquiline and Genstar sold a TAMP, AssetMark.

As for the Cetera deal, Tony Salewski, managing director of Genstar, praises Cetera as "well-positioned to capitalize on long-term secular tailwinds in wealth management."

Cetera's board will include: Moore, Salewski, Genstar vice president Sid Ramakrishnan, former Schwab retail chief Ben Brigeman, and former Russell vice chairman Hal Strong.

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