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$5B IBD Sells to Securities America, Cites DOL Concerns

By Alex Padalka August 22, 2016

Securities America is acquiring a 54-year-old advisor-owned independent broker-dealer in a decision driven in part by concerns over increased costs arising from the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule, according to a press release from the company.

Foothill Securities, founded in 1962 in Silicon Valley, currently has 210 advisors managing $5.14 billion across 12 states and bringing in $38 million in revenue, according to the press release from Securities America, a wholly owned subsidiary of Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services. Steve Chipman, Foothill Securities’ president and CEO, said his firm has been looking for a potential acquirer for several months, according to the press release.

Chipman also said the decision was “reinforced” by concerns over rising compliance costs in light of the DOL rule, which requires retirement brokers to put clients’ interest first, according to the press release.

“We selected Securities America, one of the country’s largest independent broker-dealers, because it will offer our advisors additional compliance support, better technology, broader asset management resources and practice management programs for the full practice life cycle,” Chipman said.

The deal is Securities America’s eighth acquisition over eight years of expansion, and one of the largest: in all, the firm has brought on 900 advisors through the deals, according to the press release, and acquired $12.6 billion in client assets, almost 70% of which are coming from the Foothill acquisition, which is still subject to regulatory approval.

“We have a very sophisticated and detailed process to efficiently work through all the details and requirements associated with this type of transaction. Our project list includes more than 750 tasks across 12 departments, led by a cross-departmental team of more than 25 employees,” Gregg Johnson, Securities America’s executive vice president of branch office development and acquisitions, said in the press release.

In all, Securities America’s more than 2,000 advisors oversee $58 billion in client assets, according to its press release.