Regional integrator Homerick Berg has acquired Oakbridge Partners, a registered investment advisor for $1.5 billion in Buckhead, Ga., a district of Atlanta not far from the aggregator’s headquarters. The deal, expected to close at the end of May and the firm’s largest to date, will bring Homeric Berg’s net worth to more than $13 billion.
Oakbridge, which was established in 1974, is led by principals Warren Wick II, William Cohen, Jennifer Story, Eric Tool and Brandon Downs, and provides comprehensive wealth management and financial planning services.
Homeric Berg president Thomas Carroll said the deal was Started on the basis of long standing relationships Had two firms. For one, Carroll had previously worked with Tool & Down, who had known him for 20 years.
“We want to dominate our market here in Atlanta,” Carroll said. “It only doubles down on that market position.”
In November, Homerick Berg opened its first office outside the Atlanta area, joining Kevin Campbell and Amy Owen Jenspring SunTrust Private Wealth to head the new Palm Beach, Fla. Office.
Oakbridge decided to sell Homerick Berg after reaching a point where it needed more resources and infrastructure to support its growing customer base.
“We hit a critical point in our development and had to make an important decision whether to add infrastructure, including management, investment solutions and technology, or partner with a firm with those capabilities,” Cohen said in a statement.
Carroll said RIA was also attracted by Homerick Berg’s robust alternative investment platform, which is done in-house. The firm has analysts covering real estate, private equity and private debt. Homeric’s centralized planning support was also of interest to him.
Homeric Berg has been intentionally about being a regional aggregator of fee-only advisory firms, not an aggregator.
What is meant by “Regional Integrator”? It is a brand; It’s a Tech Stack; This is an investment department, and an HB way of serving customers,” said Carroll. “As it relates to Oakbridge and their fit, they are aligned around that integrator approach; they are a fee-only shop; they have the planning expertise; they are the service-oriented professionals with whom we have many decades of relationship. Huh.”
Carroll says the company is currently in growth mode. He does not necessarily expect them to accelerate the pace of deals, but rather the size of deals they would be willing to do. In addition, the firm expects to take advantage of debt as a way to fund that growth.
“We’re going to use debt to drive our growth, not just equity, and that’s a slight change from our prior mindset,” he said.
In July, RIA sold a minority stake to New Mountain Strategic Equity, an affiliate of private equity firm New Mountain Capital, to facilitate ownership succession.