PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - 31

development at the company, in Leawood, Kansas.
Ohm, who spearheads OneDigital's onboarding process,
notes that not all deals survive. Often, it is within the 90-day
vetting process that issues emerge that are a red flag to both
sides. " Inevitably, as you get into the consummation of the
deal-what we call the final diligence phase-people will
show their true colors, " she says. " It takes somebody who
understands the benefit of aligning with the bigger company
and giving up some of the control.
That's not for everybody. "
Deal Architects
Ohm came to OneDigital from a
career recruiting financial advisers
and advisory teams. Leading the
acquisitions team is a great fit, she
says, because it has many components
similar to those of recruiting
teams that can help the business
and effect further growth for both
Even so, she cites the many
" complexities that come along with
the acquisition landscape. " In just
the past two years, Ohm says, she
and her team have worked on 23
deals in the retirement and wealth
management division.
As a " deal architect, " Ohm says,
out geographically " and that is tasked with looking for
acquirees in financial advisement that fit Gallagher's needs.
" Culture is really important, " he says. " If [you're] going
to grow through acquisitions, then you need to have a great
banging heads.
" I like to ask questions [about potential acquirees] such
as, 'Would you have this person over to dinner? Would you
introduce them to your family?' "
Part of
the fit, Leonard says,
" One thing
we've learned
from the
we've done is
that, if we rush
the process, it's
likely to create
issues ... "
the only rule of thumb is that no
two deals are alike. " When you've
seen one M&A deal, you've seen one
M&A deal. "
To get through the large amount of deal volume, OneDigital
has 35 people on its acquisitions team who begin work as
soon as a letter of interest, or LOI, is in process. Once a deal is
done, however, the team's work begins, to fully integrate and
set up the new business for success.
" One thing we've learned from the acquisitions we've
done is that, if we rush the process, it's likely to create issues
either with the integration or with onboarding the teams and
certainly could affect client retention, " she says.
At OneDigital, something it has only started doing in
recent years is to identify an executive sponsor who will then
partner with the acquired firm, Ohm says. " That person is
charged with helping [the acquiree] find its way. "
Breaking Bread
Over the past year, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. has built up
both its retirement and financial wellness acumen with the
purchase of advisory firm Buck, as well as F3 Companies, a
turnkey wealth management provider.
Now, Gallagher is starting a push-largely in the western
U.S.-of acquiring planners to provide participants with
wealth management services, says Jeff Leonard, Gallagher's
financial and retirement services practice leader, in Rolling
Meadows, Illinois. Leonard says he has a team that is " spread
is finding advisory firms that are
excited to take on the acquirer's
brand and ethos. That does not
mean, he says, that it is " Gallagher's
way or the highway " but that they
want a collaborative culture, with
pride in the brand and the capabilities
of a national team.
To ensure that success, he says,
they like to bring potential acquisition
targets to Gallagher's headquarters
in Rolling Meadows, to
" break bread. "
" I think it's important for people
to see us in our natural habitat, "
Leonard says. " We want them to
know what it's going to be like from
day one, before we close a deal.
That's really important to us. "
Aggregating the Aggregators
According to Wise Rhino Group,
the connection between retirement plan advisement and
wealth management will only heighten in coming years.
" More wealth advisory firms will decide to partner with
retirement plan aggregators, "
its Q2 2023 M&A report. " These wealth advisory firms are
already routinely including retirement and wealth aggregators
as prime partner candidates in their partner searches. "
That drive will also see the rise of more aggregators,
along with more chances to get doing an M&A right-or
wrong-according to the firm.
" Additional aggregators will emerge, " the firm wrote.
" [Private equity] continues to love the advisory space,
and new players continue to be attracted to the still fragmented
verticals of retirement and wealth. "
That more crowded space will lead to winners and
losers, depending on how successful they are, Wise Rhino
" Certain leading scaled/executing aggregators will rise
and dominate, " say Wise Rhino's predictions. " There will
be the emergence of a select number of 'Meta' firms. Most
consolidated industries eventually reach a 'balance and
alliance' stage, which looks like a classic oligopoly, with a
small number of super-scaled Meta national firms. Think
Expect the same here, over time. " -Alex Ortolani
the consultancy wrote in
fit [with the acquiree] so you're not constantly
Practice Management | Fall 2023 | 31


Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of PLANADVISER - Fall 2023

At the Core
A Need to Show Value
The Talent Pipeline
Inside the Deal
Demand Performance
Are They Legally Binding?
The SEC on Cybersecurity
From Managing to Leading
Can You Predict Client Stress?  
PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - C1
PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - FC1
PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - FC2
PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - C2
PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - 1
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PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - 12
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PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - 14
PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - 15
PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - At the Core
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PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - 18
PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - 19
PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - A Need to Show Value
PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - 21
PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - 22
PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - 23
PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - 24
PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - 25
PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - The Talent Pipeline
PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - 27
PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - 28
PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - 29
PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - Inside the Deal
PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - 31
PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - Demand Performance
PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - 33
PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - Are They Legally Binding?
PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - 35
PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - The SEC on Cybersecurity
PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - 37
PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - From Managing to Leading
PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - Can You Predict Client Stress?  
PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - 40
PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - C3
PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - C4