United Capital acquires Philadelphia-area firm

NEW YORK (Reuters) – United Capital Financial Advisers, expanding across the United States through a series of acquisitions, said on Thursday that it had bought Philadelphia-area financial planning firm Vantage Point Advisors.

Newport Beach, California-based United Capital’s latest deal adds a 27-year-old firm with $170 million of client assets. Vantage Point will do business as United Capital Private Wealth Counseling.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

United Capital, with more than $13 billion in assets under advisement and 29 offices, has snapped up 34 investment advisers since its formation in 2005.

Founder Joseph Duran’s strategy is to sell unbiased financial advice to families with $1 million or more in liquid assets, with an emphasis on counseling rather than just managing investments.

Duran expects his firm to add $1.5 billion to $2 billion of assets through acquisitions this year, with a goal of planting the flag in Atlanta, Denver, New York, Los Angeles, Phoenix, St. Louis and Portland, Oregon.

United Capital is one of several firms seeking to consolidate a cottage industry of small advisers into national wealth management companies. Duran and others are tapping into investors’ demand for money management help that is free of the conflicts long found in Wall Street’s brokerage houses.

(Reporting by Joseph A. Giannone; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

United Capital acquires Philadelphia-area firm