Creative Planning doubles retirement plan assets with $6 billion deal

Creative Planning has acquired the $6 billion retirement division of Iron Financial, marking the first time the $90 billion serial acquirer has purchased part of a wealth management firm, as opposed to buying the whole thing.

The deal brings on board all 15 employees from Iron Financial’s retirement business, and more than doubles Creative Planning’s retirement plan assets to approximately $10 billion.

This is the first deal of the year for Overland Park, Kansas-based Creative Planning, after completing a dozen deals last year.

“We only expect to make a few deals this year, because we want to be very strategic,” said Creative Planning chief executive officer Peter Mallouk.

“If you look at what’s happening in the space, the supply is great,” he added. “A lot of firms looking to buy and a huge amount of firms are looking to sell, but we’re holding out for firms that really make strategic sense for us.”

Slowing the pace of acquisitions goes against the grain of much of the industry, which has already seen nearly a dozen high-profile deals announced since the start of the year.

Northbrook, Illinois-based Iron Financial was founded in 1994 by Aaron Izenstark and Howard Nixon, two former bond traders who set out to create a new paradigm in investment management, with a focus on providing the highest-quality investments at the lowest cost.

“We have built one of the premier fiduciary services in the country and knew it was time to expand our scale and offering,” said Richard Friedman, head of corporate retirement services at Iron Financial.

“When it comes to a best-in-class, industry-leading fiduciary offering, Creative Planning stood as the clear choice for us,” he added. “This helps us serve our clients and team better by providing a broader investment policy and research team, expanded technology, greater scale and more services.”

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