Global insurance brokerage firm Hub International Ltd. is pushing its way more aggressively into the retirement and wealth management consulting business.
Over the course of six days in September, the company announced the acquisitions of six retirement plan and private wealth advisory firms that collectively oversaw more than $11 billion in assets. The biggest firm — New York-based StoneStreet Pearl River LLC — served 102 plan sponsor clients with $4.6 billion in assets as well as 49 individual wealth clients with $22 million.
In addition, in a quiet behind-the-scenes deal that was not publicly announced, Hub also in September bought Global Retirement Partners LLC, the $40 billion registered investment adviser through which the six firms cleared their transactions.
"It was crucial for the adviser practices to stay with one RIA," said David Reich, the San Diego-based national president of Hub retirement and private wealth, referring to the six acquired firms. "They didn't want to be jumping around and end up with a shop that might not respect what they have."
In addition to StoneStreet Pearl River, Hub bought Inter-Mountain Retirement Partners Inc. in Colorado, WhartonHill Advisors in Fort Washington, Penn., Washington Financial Group in McLean, Va., and EPIC Retirement Services Consulting LLC and Perennial Pension and Wealth Inc., both in New York.
Terms of the deals were not disclosed.
Hub has been picking up advisory practices for the past two years as part of a strategy to diversify its businesses in insurance brokerage, personal insurance and employee benefits.
Since Mr. Reich's arrival from LPL Financial in 2017, the company has acquired some 15 firms, including Sheridan Road Financial LLC and its $14 billion in assets, which Hub purchased in January. In total, the company now has $38 billion in plan assets under advisement, up from $1 billion in 2017, according to Mr. Reich.
"They clearly want to be a leader in the retirement and wealth space, and this is just the continuation of that strategy by going out and looking for the best firms to acquire to put into their empire," Dick Darian, the Charleston, S.C.-based CEO of retirement M&A consulting firm Wise Rhino Group, said of the company's September buying spree.
Mr. Reich said he is looking to capitalize on what he sees as synergies between Hub's traditional insurance-related and employee benefits businesses and retirement and wealth practices run by advisers.
Insurance and employee benefit brokers as well as advisers deal with employers and speak to the same decision-makers, a situation that leads to tremendous cross-selling opportunities, as Mr. Reich sees it.
"We have over 400,000 commercial relationships in the United States, and so it creates a great value proposition for those advisers to come here and grow through our existing relationships," Mr. Reich said.
Mr. Reich's strategy is to reel in what he describes as a "great practices" in geographic areas where Hub has commercial business. He is looking at small and large firms alike, selecting firms based on the level of business Hub conducts in their locations. In markets such as New York, for example, where Hub has a significant presence, he tends to look for larger adviser practices with, say, $1 billion in assets, but in smaller towns where Hub does less business, a firm with $250 million in assets "can be a perfect fit," he said.