Cadaret Grant acquired by private-equity-backed Atria

75-year-old owner Arthur Grant positions the IBD for the 'next 33 years.'

Apr 19, 2018 @ 10:36 am

By Jeff Benjamin

In a move the market has been anticipating for years, the owner of independent broker-dealer Cadaret Grant & Co. has agreed to a sale.

Arthur Grant, president, chief executive and majority owner of the 33-year-old IBD with $23 billion under administration, will move into an advisory role as private-equity-backed Atria Wealth Solutions acquires the business. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The deal, announced internally to Cadaret's more than 900 advisers in 475 offices nationwide, will be the third acquisition since November for Atria, a two-year-old holding company run by three Wall Street veterans.

"I've been looking for somebody to lead this company into the next 33 years, and I haven't made a secret of that," said Mr. Grant, who is 75 and has no immediate plans to fade into retirement.

"I'm not necessarily retiring, because I'll be staying on site to help with transitions and to advise and do what I can to help make it a successful transition," he said. "But I will most importantly spend more time with my wife."

Atria, which is majority-owned by Lee Equity Partners, was founded in late 2016 by Morgan Stanley alums Doug Ketterer and Eugene Elias Jr., along with Kevin Beard, a former executive vice president of recruiting and acquisition strategy at AIG Advisor Group.

"Our concept is buy and build," said Mr. Ketterer, CEO of Atria, who said he will be "stepping into [Mr. Grant's] shoes" once the deal is completed in about a month, pending regulatory approval.

"If you believe it's a scale industry, then you need scale and cash flow to take it to the next level," he added.

In November, Atria completed the acquisition of San Diego-based sister broker-dealers Cuso Financial Services, which is focused on the credit union channel, and Sorrento Pacific Financial, in the bank channel.

"Our strategy is predicated on buying some world-class properties," Mr. Ketterer said. "But this is not just go out and buy stuff. The three of us are here for the long term."

Regarding the Cadaret deal, Mr. Ketterer said, "We wanted to have a presence in the traditional adviser channel, and we had been talking to Cadaret Grant for a while."

Key to the deal from Mr. Grant's perspective was keeping the brand in place, along with the 110 employees at the Syracuse, N.Y., headquarters as well as the dozen employees at the Mt. Arlington, N.J., regional management office.

"This will not involve turnover of the people, and the headquarters will remain here in Syracuse," Mr. Grant said. "I settled on Atria because of the people. It's about the people."

The acquisition also includes two Cadaret sister companies, Cadaret Grant Agency and Capital Strategy Group.

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