Lightyear Capital to acquire a majority stake in Wealth Enhancement Group

Lightyear Capital LLC has agreed to buy a majority stake in Wealth Enhancement Group, a wealth management firm. The seller is Norwest Equity Partners. William Blair & Company provided financial advice to Wealth Enhancement Group on the transaction.

PRESS RELEASE

New York, NY and Minneapolis, MN – April 21, 2015 – Lightyear Capital LLC, a private equity firm specializing in financial services investing, today announced that an affiliated investment fund has signed a definitive agreement to purchase a majority equity stake in Wealth Enhancement Group, an independent wealth management firm with $4.7 billion in client assets. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Under the terms of the agreement, an investment fund affiliated with Lightyear Capital will purchase the equity stake currently held by Norwest Equity Partners, a Minneapolis-based middle market investment firm. A number of employees of Wealth Enhancement Group will continue to hold a stake in the firm.

Based in the Greater Minneapolis area, Wealth Enhancement Group was founded in 1997 and has expanded, principally through organic growth, to serve more than 10,000 households in over 40 states. The firm focuses on supporting the mass affluent and affluent retail investors by providing comprehensive expertise and resources that are typically available only to large institutional investors and the ultra-high net worth client.

Donald Marron, Chairman and Founder of Lightyear Capital said, “Wealth Enhancement Group has an outstanding track record of growth and success in the wealth management business. The firm works with its clients to provide family office-quality financial planning and advice. We think this is a compelling business proposition that can be extended into markets across the country.”

Mark Vassallo, Managing Partner of Lightyear Capital, added, “Registered Investment Advisors are a fast growing segment of the wealth management industry, and Lightyear Capital has been exploring opportunities in the RIA segment for many years. We identified Wealth Enhancement Group as an attractive firm within the sector and believe it can be a platform for growth both organically and through acquisition.”

Jeff Dekko, Chief Executive Officer of Wealth Enhancement Group, said, “We are delighted to partner with Lightyear Capital and to leverage their significant experience in financial services and wealth management. Together with Lightyear, we look forward to continuing our strategic plan of adding independent financial advisory firms that share our values and client-service focus and utilizing our capabilities to help them grow.”

Mr. Dekko concluded, “We achieved a great deal of growth and success over the last few years, and we’re excited about carrying that momentum forward into our new relationship with Lightyear Capital. This new partnership will allow us to continue to deliver consistent growth in new markets as we build our firm into a top national wealth management and financial planning brand.”

William Blair & Company served as financial advisor to Wealth Enhancement Group.

About Wealth Enhancement Group
Wealth Enhancement Group is a Greater Minneapolis-based independent wealth management firm offering comprehensive and customized financial planning and investment management services across 40 states. Established in 1997, Wealth Enhancement Group currently has over 10,000 households that entrust them with $4.7 billion in assets as of 3/31/15. Wealth Enhancement Group specializes in providing retail mass affluent and affluent clients with the comprehensive expertise and resources that are typically available only to large institutional investors and the ultra-wealthy. Wealth Enhancement Group uses a team approach with a focus on fostering long-term client relationships and has 13 offices throughout Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois. For more information, please visit www.wealthenhancement.com.

Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services, LLC, a registered investment advisor. Wealth Enhancement Group and Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services are separate entities from LPL Financial. Lightyear Capital is not affiliated with LPL Financial. Wealth Enhancement Group is a registered trademark of Wealth Enhancement Group, LLC.

About Lightyear Capital, LLC
Lightyear Capital is a financial services-focused private equity firm based in New York. Lightyear, through its three affiliated private equity funds, has raised over $2.5 billion of capital and makes primarily control investments in North America-based, middle-market financial services companies. Lightyear targets investments across the financial services spectrum, including asset management, banks, brokerage, financial technology, insurance, and specialty finance. The firm brings unique strengths and discipline to its investment process, as well as operating, transaction, and strategic management experience, along with significant contacts and resources beyond capital. For more information, please visit www.lycap.com.