M&A Talk with Leading RIA Aggregators and Integrators: Jeff Dekko of Wealth Enhancement Group
As the CEO of one of the fastest-growing wealth management firms in the nation, Jeff Dekko has an impressive track record of success. Under his leadership, Wealth Enhancement Group has grown from $600 million in assets to over $57 billion, providing holistic wealth management services to individuals, families, and businesses.
It's not just about the numbers, however: Jeff has built a team that excels at client acquisitions, executes M&A deals to onboard top talent, and develops a cutting-edge digital platform that supports the firm's accelerating scale.
With his experience in technology and management consulting, Jeff brings a unique perspective to the table, helping organizations realize greater levels of success. He has even been instrumental in the development and branding of well-known products like the PUR water filtration system. Jeff's impressive resume and proven leadership make him a force to be reckoned with in the world of wealth management.
Jeff’s success with Wealth Enhancement Group over the past 20 years has certainly been a calculated balance. Jeff emphasizes the importance of organic growth and a team-based approach to delivering great outcomes for clients. Wealth Enhancement Group's purpose statement focuses on working together to improve the lives of their clients and providing the best financial advice possible.
While mergers and acquisitions are present in their strategy, they are not the sole focus of growth for Wealth Enhancement Group. Jeff believes that organic growth is critical for building a great company in the long run and that M&A should complement their existing capabilities rather than serve as the main driver of growth.
THE EVOLUTION OF DEALS IN M&A
Since 2014, the industry has shifted towards consolidation, with a focus on acquiring advisors who have a long runway and are excited about growing. Wealth Enhancement Group takes a partnership approach with these advisors, emphasizing the importance of shared risk and a shared upside. The company's compensation model is a revenue-share model, which aligns with the entrepreneurial energy of their partners.
There is also importance in maintaining promises made to clients, especially during the transition process. Wealth Enhancement Group values the entrepreneurial spirit of their partners. They aim to take on the scalable burdens of their businesses, which allows them to focus on what they do best: Engaging with clients and grow their business.
THE RISE OF PRIVATE EQUITY
The private equity (PE) space has been growing significantly, with more companies being sold to PE firms, which is driven by a number of factors such as demographic shifts, scale, and the need for technology. This growth is expected to continue, although recent events such as rising interest rates and inflation, and the impact of bank failures, may have some impact on deal flow and valuations.
The key is to find the right partner committed to maturing as an organization, improving efficiency and productivity, and ensuring transparency and alignment. Private equity firms offer a long runway, and the private market is a better fit for companies than the public market. Overall, the private equity space is in the early middle innings, with the potential for significant growth and maturation in the future.
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For my full discussion with Jeff Dekko, and more on the topic:
Listen to the Full DealQuest Podcast Episode Here
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FOR MORE ON JEFF DEKKO:
Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator, and dealmaker. He has more than 35 years of professional deal-making and negotiating experience. Corey is a successful entrepreneur, attorney, consultant, author, and professional speaker. He is deeply passionate about deal-driven growth. He is also the creator and host of the DealQuest Podcast.
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