HUB International in talks to buy Sheridan Road, a $14 billion hybrid retirement plan group

The acquisition would be the biggest yet for Hub, a new aggregator in the retirement-plan advice market

Nov 16, 2018 @ 2:03 pm

By Greg Iacurci

Sheridan Road Financial, an advisory firm overseeing about $14 billion in retirement plan assets, is in talks to be acquired by insurance brokerage Hub International, according to two sources with knowledge of the discussions.

The deal hasn't yet been finalized, according to one of the sources, who requested anonymity.

Jim O'Shaughnessy and Daniel Bryant, managing partners at Sheridan Road, didn't return requests for comment. David Reich, national president of retirement services at Hub, also didn't return a request for comment.

Sheridan Road had $13.5 billion in defined-contribution assets and 20 retirement plan advisers as of March 31 this year, according to InvestmentNews data. The firm, a hybrid advisory firm based in Northbrook, Ill., also does some individual wealth management business.

If the deal goes through, it would be a major move for Hub, a new entrant into the retirement-plan advice market. The firm, which is majority-owned by private equity firm Hellman & Friedman, has traditionally bought groups specializing in employee benefits and property and casualty insurance. The firm hadn't entered the retirement plan market in a big way until September 2017, when it hired Mr. Reich to head its retirement unit. Mr. Reich was formerly an executive in LPL Financial's Retirement Partners group.

"This place has never really gone after the business, and now we are," Mr. Reich told InvestmentNews shortly after his hire. "There's a significant opportunity to grow in this space."

The firm — whose retirement business is smaller than Sheridan Road's, according to InvestmentNews data, with roughly $7 billion in DC-plan assets — announced a few substantial acquisitions within the past year. It acquired Summit Financial Corp., a $2.5 billion retirement group, in November 2017, and bought IPS Advisors, an $850 million firm, in February.

Unlike other buyers, Hub allows the firms it acquires to keep assets with their existing RIA and broker-dealer. Sheridan Road uses LPL as its broker-dealer, and launched its own RIA, Sheridan Road Advisors, earlier this year. It was formerly with the mega hybrid RIA Independent Financial Partners.

Hub reported total revenue of about $2 billion for the 12 months ended Sept. 30.

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