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Carson Wealth Explains $575 Million RIA Spectrum Deal

By Garrett Keyes May 1, 2019

Carson Wealth has acquired a 25% equity stake in $575 million AUM Spectrum Management Group as part of an equity swap M&A deal.

Spectrum received an undisclosed minority equity stake in Carson for its part of the deal, and Bob Phillips and Leslie Thompson, managing principals of Spectrum, will maintain firm ownership and continue running Spectrum following the acquisition. Speaking with FA-IQ, Carson's vice president of mergers and acquisitions Jason Carver explains the Spectrum deal and Carson’s plans for the RIA.

Q: Why did Carson use an equity swap to facilitate the deal with Spectrum?

A: This is consistent with how we have done other deals in the past. And it does a couple of things. It creates alignment with Carson, and it gives them access to enhanced resources through Carson. More and more RIAs are fiercely entrepreneurial and independent, so they want a partner that has a vested interest in Spectrum without taking control of ownership. This accomplishes both of those things.

Spectrum also gets access to Carson’s entire ecosystem including back office, M&A, compliance, [and] tech support as part of the deal.

Q: How does this deal suit Carson Wealth’s goals?

A: We want to continue to selectively partner with some of the larger, more successful wealth managers in the industry, and where we can, create an alignment and invested interest in each other’s success. But we are selective in who we want to take this extra step with. Carson looks for partners who want success but don’t want to give up their businesses.

Q: How did the deal with Spectrum come to be?

A: Carson Wealth has known them for close to a decade at this point because Bob Phillips participated in the Carson coaching program for a long time. The Carson coaching program was where RIA leaders selected as coaches got to advise program participants on practice management issues.

And over the years we have built a close relationship with them. They got to know us and see the growth trajectory we offer partner firms. And we got to know the struggles and challenges they face, like having to wear too many hats or getting to the next level of practice growth.

Jason Carver

Q: Are there any more deals on the horizon for Carson Wealth?

A: Absolutely, we should have several more deals closed over the next three months. Carson Wealth is in contact with several firms to do this type of partnership, in addition to other M&A transactions like buyouts, succession planning, sub-acquisitions, and advisor recruiting. We also have a couple more M&A deals in the works with firms that have over $500 million AUM too.

*This interview has been edited for both brevity and clarity.