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Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services (NYSE MKT: LTS) has acquired Highland Capital Brokerage, a wholesale life insurance brokerage based in Birmingham, Ala., for $42 million. The company says the acquisition will provide Ladenburg’s 2,800 advisors with Securities America, Triad Advisors and Investacorp access to better insurance products.
“The acquisition of Highland marks Ladenburg’s entrance into the wholesale life insurance marketplace,” said Dr. Phillip Frost, Ladenburg’s chairman of the board and principal shareholder, in a statement.
Highland, which provides life insurance, annuities and long-term care, has a total of 300 employees across the country, including 10 regional offices, 90 sales vice presidents, 12 principals, 55 corporate employees and 135 field office staff.
Ladenburg purchased Highland’s common stock for $12.7 million—$3.6 million in cash and the rest in 2.5 million shares of Ladenburg’s equity. Ladenburg also repaid Highland’s bank facility of $22.3 million; Highland has about $7 million in outstanding promissory notes. The firm reported revenue of $46 million for the 12 months ending June 30.
Highland CEO Jim Gelder will continue to run the brokerage, which will operate as an independent business out of Birmingham.
Ladenburg Thalmann entered the independent b/d space in 2007, with its acquisition of Investacorp. Since then, it has built a network of independent advisors with the addition of Triad Advisors and Securities America. Just last month, Securities America scooped up insurance b/d Sunset Financial, adding 268 reps. Ladenburg now has 2,800 advisors overseeing $90 billion in client assets.
Ladenburg’s investment in Highland will allow the insurance brokerage to bring on new senior sales professionals, upgrade its technology and infrastructure, improve its training and development, and expand into new markets.
Highland was previously owned by National Financial Partners, until the firm’s principals bought it in 2013. The firm’s securities business is still run through NFP, according to Highland’s website.