Hub in talks to buy $40 billion LPL branch Global Retirement Partners

GRP, an LPL super-OSJ, would represent the latest in a flurry of acquisitions for Hub

Jul 11, 2019 @ 2:23 pm

By Greg Iacurci

Insurance brokerage Hub International is in talks to buy Global Retirement Partners, the largest retirement-focused branch of LPL Financial with $40.1 billion in assets, according to two sources with knowledge of the discussions.

GRP, a registered investment adviser, has 236 advisers, according to a filing made June 27 with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The vast majority of its assets — $38.5 billion — comes from retirement plans such as 401(k)s.

It is unclear how close the firms are to finalizing a deal and whether a sale will ultimately occur.

Geoff White, GRP's CEO, and David Reich, the national president of retirement services at Hub, declined to comment on sales discussions between the firms.

"We are continuously in conversations with many organizations in the retirement plan space, and we would be negligent if we weren't always keeping our fingers on the pulse of the market to make sure we are acting in the best interest of our advisers and clients," Mr. White, a shareholder in the firm, said in an e-mailed statement.

Similarly, Mr. Reich, who formerly headed LPL's retirement group, said Hub is in conversations with several firms "seeking to understand their value in the marketplace," calling it "a natural part of the process."

If it comes to fruition, the acquisition of GRP would be the latest in a flurry of other large retirement-focused acquisitions for Hub. The firm acquired Sheridan Road Financial, a $14 billion advisory group, in January.

Hub, over only the span of two years, has become one of the largest aggregators of advisory firms focused on the defined-contribution-plan market. The firm had $23 billion in DC assets among 40 advisers as of March 31, according to InvestmentNews data.

Hub is both broker-dealer and RIA agnostic, meaning an acquired firm could keep its current brokerage and RIA affiliations. That means GRP, which operates as a super-office of supervisory jurisdiction for LPL, the nation's largest independent broker-dealer, wouldn't need to switch B-Ds in the event of a transaction.

GRP was formed when former LPL Retirement Partners president Bill Chetney bought advisory firm Financial Telesis Inc. in 2014, became its CEO and formed a partnership with LPL. A group of advisers then bought out GRP from Mr. Chetney the following year.

There are currently 12 shareholders in GRP, the largest being Joseph DeNoyior, CEO of Washington Financial Group, according to an SEC filing.

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