NFP acquires Washington Wealth Management

Takes on 10 adviser teams, with more than $800 million in assets

By Carl O'Donnell

Mar 12, 2014 @ 9:41 am (Updated 4:23 pm) EST

National Financial Partners Corp., a provider of benefits, insurance and wealth management services, has purchased Washington Wealth Management, a hybrid RIA platform.

As a result of the transaction, NFP will take on Washington Wealth Management's 10 adviser teams, which oversee more than $800 million in client assets. Meanwhile, Washington Wealth Management will gain access to NFP's tools and resources.

“We are extremely focused on the high end of independent financial advisers, and we saw that the next wave of independent financial advisers was going to come from wire houses,” said James Poer, president of NFP's Advisor Services Group, in an interview. “What we discovered is that you need people from wire houses to build a platform [that attracts this group].”

Through the deal, Washington Wealth Management gains access to NFP's array of tools and resources, including NFP's integrated technology platform, which is emulates the platforms used at wirehouses and puts both the advisory and brokerage sides of a hybrid advisory firm onto the same system, said Rob Bartenstein, CEO of Washington Wealth Management.

“The alternative is the random accumulation of resources: a login and a set of processes for one company, another for the second, third and fourth,” Mr. Poer said. “Many RIAs who become independent suddenly find themselves the de facto COO of their new company, which is very time consuming and never offers a return on investment.”

Washington Wealth Management also gains access to NFP's expertise in benefits and insurance, which could help the firm's advisers to expand offerings to clients and move into new areas, Mr. Bartenstein said.

“Our clients have needs in the insurance and benefits spaces very often,” Mr. Bartenstein said. “Now we can access those resources in house, and grow our business by branching out in both of these directions.”