Torrance-based registered investment adviser EP Wealth Advisors has acquired Vancouver, Wash.-based financial planner NewFocus Financial Group, EP Wealth’s 14th acquisition in just over three years.

The deal expands the firm’s geographic reach and adds new financial media capabilities to EP Wealth’s business. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.


In addition to standard financial planning services, NewFocus hosts a podcast and a radio show around markets, investing and financial planning. One of the firm’s co-founders, Rob Black, has hosted a nationally syndicated radio show called “Rob Black & Your Money” for nearly two decades. Black was named both a partner and “radio host” for EP following the acquisition. 


“The expectation is to utilize what they are doing (with the shows) and increase that throughout all of our existing locations,” said EP co-founder and Managing Director Brian Parker. 


The podcasts and radio shows are often followed up by localized seminars, Parker said, which EP Wealth is also looking to roll out in new locations. “Ultimately, it is just another way to distribute what we are doing in the marketplace,” he said.


The NewFocus acquisition added more than $700 million to EP’s assets under management, according to Parker, bringing the firm’s total AUM to approximately $11.5 billion. Although EP was founded more than 20 years ago, the bulk of its growth has occurred within the last few years. 


Parker described his firm’s expansion push as part of a bigger trend in the registered investment adviser, or RIA, sector. Mergers and acquisitions involving RIAs have picked up in recent years, leading to consolidation in the space.


“I think there is a race for a few firms to become national,” Parker said. “It’s our expectation to become one of those.”


Parker said the uncertainty brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic has increased demand for RIA services and helped fuel his firm’s growth. 


“People are asking, ‘We have a pandemic, am I taking too much risk? But the market is doing well, should I (invest more)? Will taxes change?’” Parker said. “People are trying to decide if they should be aggressive or cautious. Demand is higher than ever.”


EP expects to grow at a rate of 40% annually for the foreseeable future, according to Parker. He added that the firm’s primary goal was now to establish a wide footprint across the United States. 


In addition to a number of locations in California, the firm has offices in Arizona, Washington, Illinois, Colorado, Texas and Utah.

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