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Personal Fairness in Wealth Administration

Based in 1998, Genstar Capital has some 40 crew members in a San Francisco workplace managing greater than $36 billion in property, throughout 47 portfolio corporations, specializing in know-how, industrial manufacturing, healthcare and monetary companies—together with present stakes in Mercer Advisors, Cetera Monetary Group, Cerity Companions and Alera Group, an worker advantages agency with retirement and wealth administration companies. 

Genstar’s first wealth administration funding got here in 2015, when it took over a controlling curiosity in Mercer Advisors from Lovell Minnick Companions (LMP stayed on as a minority investor). The agency acquired majority management of Cetera in 2018, and in Cerity final 12 months.

The agency had beforehand targeted on asset managers in want of transition plans, however the rise of low-cost indexing and ETFs negatively impacted the worth of these corporations, in line with a supply with data of Genstar’s technique. On the similar time, the enterprise of economic recommendation was rising, with sticky income and alternatives for increased margins.

“You noticed all these elements of the worth chain actually lowering, however that core relationship between an finish consumer and an advisor was one that actually stayed constant and was valued, and other people would pay for that,” they mentioned. “Everybody talks about investing in software program companies as a result of they’ve recurring revenues. The wealth administration area is identical factor. It’s recurring income. Purchasers don’t transfer that a lot from advisors if they’ve a great one.”

The agency is prepared to spend money on each unbiased dealer/sellers and registered funding advisory companies, in line with the supply, trying primarily for robust management groups with a need to develop income by means of acquisitions and extra companies, and develop margins with higher know-how and extra effectively run companies, whereas sustaining a excessive degree of consumer satisfaction.

Mercer and Cerity are each RIAs, and Cetera is a hybrid agency. However at the least some on the Genstar administration crew anticipate to see a resurgence of development potential on the dealer/seller facet because of the established market presence and a capability to pivot to convey a broader suite of wealth administration companies.

“[Genstar] thinks there’s going to be a resurgence within the dealer/seller area as a result of they’ve a bit bit extra flexibility on having the ability to advise you in your entire monetary outlook,” mentioned the supply. “That suggests a broader function than a purely fiduciary RIA, as a result of a fiduciary usually doesn’t contact insurance coverage and doesn’t contact different elements of the equation. They may advise, however they’ll refer you out.”

All acquisitions are “very tailor-made” to the goal, however Genstar eschews structured dealmaking, preferring as a substitute to make direct fairness investments on a three- to seven-year timeline (“5 years is the candy spot”), reinvesting when the expansion alternative remains to be there. Within the case of Mercer, Genstar has restructured the funding twice, bringing in Oak Hill Capital within the fall of 2019 and, two months in the past, Altas Capital turned an proprietor.

“This trade has been so dynamic, quite a lot of corporations have reinvested in their very own platforms, or stored holding them for a very long time, as a result of there are such nice macro tailwinds to the sector,” the supply supplied.

Since Genstar’s preliminary funding, Mercer has accomplished greater than 78 acquisitions and grown property from round $5.8 billion to roughly $48 billion.

Whereas the agency takes controlling pursuits in its portfolio firms, they don’t typically like difficult deal constructions, and day-to-day administration is left to in-house management, the supply mentioned. After a horny agency is discovered and five-year development plan is recognized, that plan is backward engineered to ascertain achievable benchmarks—with flexibility for unexpected occasions comparable to international pandemics.

“They attempt to keep out of the best way,” the supply mentioned. “They supply the assets and assist however are usually not the operators themselves.”


With billions of {dollars} invested, PE corporations are driving the trade’s speedy consolidation. Listed below are among the most lively contributors:

Thomas H. Lee Companions – The Lively Operators

Lightyear Capital – The Area Specialists

HGGC – The Co-Investor

Bain – The Structured Dealmaker

Stone Level Capital – Extra Alternatives Than Capital



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