Montreal-based Fiera Capital Corp. said yesterday it reached an agreement to acquire Los Angeles-based Bel Air Investment Advisors LLC, an ultra-high net worth firm with $7.3 billion under management and advisement.
Publicly traded Fiera (TSX: FSZ) will pay $125 million for Bel Air, with a maximum of $115 million in cash and the remainder in a new class of subordinate voting shares in Fiera. Key managers at Bel Air will also receive a minimum of $15 million in performance share units, according to Silver Lane Advisors, Bel Air's investment adviser on the deal.
The wealth management firm will continue to operate under the Bel Air brand and be part of the Fiera Capital Private Wealth North American division.
Founded in 1997 by Goldman Sachs alums Todd Morgan, senior managing director, and Reed Halladay and Darell Krasnoff, both managing directors, Bel Air caters to high-net-worth clients with $20 million or more in assets.
“We want to grow more,” Mr. Morgan said in an interview. “We now have the capital to accomplish that.”
In addition to providing deep pockets, Fiera also beefs up Bel Air's research capability and access to alternative investments, Mr. Morgan added.
Mr. Morgan, who will continue to run the firm, said he plans to concentrate on expanding in California by adding professionals. He doesn't plan any immediate acquisitions.
Fiera Capital is an independent investment management firm with about $70 billion in client assets. It offers traditional and absolute-return investment strategies.
The Canadian company also announced the acquisition of New York City-based money manager Wilkinson O'Grady & Co. Inc., which manages approximately $2.1 billion.
“These acquisitions enhance our North American footprint and add depth to our investment and servicing teams,” said Jean-Guy Desjardins, Fiera chief executive, in a statement.