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Cetera to acquire MetLife’s independent broker-dealer affiliates

Independent broker-dealer and investment adviser, Cetera Financial Group has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Tower Square Securities and Walnut Street Securities from MetLife, for an undisclosed sum.

Following completion of the transaction, the acquired entities will operate as part of Cetera Advisor Networks, and will focus on delivering local support to advisors leveraging its unique team structure.

MetLife executive vice president Eric Steigerwalt said, "This transaction also allows MetLife’s U.S. Retail division to focus its resources on its core distribution relationships, including its affiliated broker-dealer organization."

The branch network, which is used by Tower Square and Walnut Street to serve advisors across the US, mostly in the Midwest and Northeast, will become new independent regions, enhancing Cetera’s footprint.

MetLife’s independent broker-dealers, along with over 800 advisors, will join Cetera Advisor Networks, as per terms of the deal.

As of 31 December 2012, the affiliates together had nearly $25bn in assets under management.

The acquirer will serve more than 7,000 advisors and manage over $130bn in total client assets after the acquisition.

Tower Square and Walnut Street president Craig Markham will join Cetera Advisor Networks as senior vice president of advisor relations and spearhead the sales and support teams, including the smooth transition of the two firms.

MetLife was advised by Sandler O’Neill + Partners, and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius on the transaction, which is yet to receive certain regulatory approvals and satisfy other customary closing conditions.

Cetera Advisor Networks operates as part of the Cetera Financial Group, which offers wealth management and advisory platforms, broker-dealer and registered investment adviser services, to more than 6,500 independent financial professionals and more than 600 financial institutions in US.