NEW YORK, Dec. 7, 2018 — Wentworth Management Services LLC (“Wentworth”), a growing aggregator of broker-dealers nationwide, today announced that the firm has entered into a purchase agreement to acquire World Equity Group, an independent broker/dealer based in Arlington Heights, Illinois. The announcement was made on the final day of the MarketCounsel Summit being held at the Four Seasons in Las Vegas, Nevada. The transaction, which is subject to FINRA regulatory approval, will expand Wentworth’s footprint in the Midwest and add approximately 180 financial advisors and nearly $40 million in revenue.
Wentworth is a holding company that acts as a long-term owner and operating partner for broker-dealers and RIA firms in the independent wealth management channel. The company focuses on established small- to middle-market independent broker/dealers like World Equity Group who are seeking a strategic partner to provide support and scale for their businesses. Wentworth is not a private equity fund, rather it is an owner-operator corporate model that is enabling entrepreneurs in the $16.4 trillion U.S. wealth management industry to execute on succession planning. The firm’s strategic focus is to acquire broker/dealers and capture the economies of scale needed to service financial advisors in today’s technology-enabled regulatory environment. Wentworth will continue to make a number of additional roll-up announcements in 2019.
“My partner and I have spent the last two decades building a team to support advisors across the country,” said Rich Babjak, co-founder and president of World Equity Group, who will remain at World Equity Group as a senior member of the management team and become a shareholder in Wentworth. World Equity Group will largely remain unchanged, with its management team staying intact, and will remain committed to being the firm “where relationships are the difference.”
“As co-founder Bob Yarosz was looking to retire, we wanted a partner that provided the opportunity to retain and grow the team and business,” said Babjak, who in addition to serving as president of the broker/dealer World Equity Group is also a practicing financial advisor. “I think our future is more than bright. A lot of the bigger firms don’t have the flexibility to do some of the things we are still going to be able to do. Maintaining that boutique feel and an entrepreneurial culture all while having a deeper pocket behind us will be very unique to the industry. We have the opportunity to become a destination for advisors seeking to grow their own business.”
MISSION IS TO SCALE AND GROW
In 2017, Wentworth announced the acquisition of Purshe Kaplan Sterling Investments LLC (“PKS”), a full-service, broker-dealer and financial services firm headquartered in Albany, New York. PKS was founded 25 years ago and is a leader with open-architecture friendly broker-dealer support to the RIA community.
“Scale is the only way for any advisor or financial services firm to survive in the technological renaissance that is underway in the fin-tech industry. The digitalization of operational work-flows, the focus on high-end mobile user experiences, the automation of compliance frameworks are all trends becoming reality today. Meanwhile, we are seeing continual, substantial fee compression,” said Ryan Morfin, CEO of Wentworth. “By acquiring World Equity Group, we are going to be able to provide much more value-added, concierge services for our current advisors across all of our broker-dealers and be able to reinvest back into cutting-edge technology infrastructure for advisors to outperform the competition and grow their practices well into the future.”