Chicago-based Hightower announced Tuesday the acquisition of Teak Tree Capital Management, a $600 million Ft. Worth, Texas-based advisory firm.
The deal comes two weeks after the announced acquisition of Frontier Investment Management, a Dallas-based firm managing $3.3 billion.
“It shows we’ve figured out how to navigate around the shutdowns, even though these deals would have started prior to COVID, there were still a lot of really important steps that happened after COVID,” said Bob Oros, who took over as Hightower chief executive officer in early 2019.
Oros said the initial impact of the pandemic on business, the economy and the financial markets took the focus off deal activity for much of March and April, but has since regained the momentum of last year.
“June and July activity picked up, the willingness to have conversations has picked up, and fortunately the markets have recovered pretty quickly,” he said. “We think the acceleration will continue at Hightower and generally. We’ve done five so far this year and we’re not done by a long shot. We will be pretty active in announcing new deals in the next coming weeks and months.”
Mark Bruno, managing director at Echelon Partners, agreed that the M&A activity that virtually shut down in March and April has come back to life.
“Clearly, there has been a thawing since late Q1 and early Q2 when we saw a notable slowdown in deal announcements,” he said. “The activity and announcements that we’ve been seeing over the last two months generally involves a number of high-quality firms — both buyers and sellers — that are well-run, focused on growth and looking to the future. The professional buyers and platforms have a lot to offer and they will continue to play a major role in the acceleration of deal activity throughout the remainder of 2020.”
Teak Tree, founded in 2009, will maintain its own brand, which Oros said is always an option for any firm joining Hightower.
Teak Tree co-founder Adam Deem said he was drawn to Hightower’s back-office resources and assistance, integrated technology, growth acceleration services and supportive advisor community. In essence, all the things that drive smaller independent firms toward aggregators, especially when times look volatile.
“Our firm was built on collaboration; our advisers and employees work closely together to serve our clients across all their wealth management needs,” Deem said. “Joining Hightower will extend this collaboration as we gain access to the support and experience of other Hightower advisers. Idea-sharing really serves everyone well, especially our clients.”
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