Wealth Enhancement Group, a Minnesota-based independent financial advisory firm with an office in West Des Moines and more than $3.7 billion in assets under management, today announced a merger with Summit Wealth Advisors, a Chicago-based registered investment advisory firm. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.


The merger establishes a physical location for Wealth Enhancement Group within Chicago and begins "a new wave of anticipated expansion that will utilize strategic mergers of carefully selected independent practices across the country," the firm said in a press release. Wealth Enhancement Group currently operates 14 offices with 40 advisers in Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois.


Summit Wealth Advisers, a 13-year-old firm which manages nearly $300 million in assets for high-wealth clients with a team of five advisers, will operate under the Wealth Enhancement Group name and will continue to be led by its founder, Kevin Meehan, as regional president for Chicago.  


Recently, Wealth Enhancement Group has generated particularly strong growth in the Chicago metropolitan area, and its merger with Summit Wealth Advisors positions it for accelerated expansion within the region, said Jeff Dekko, Wealth Enhancement Group's CEO. "By combining our capabilities, we believe we can organically grow the Chicago region into a multibillion-dollar region similar to our Minnesota region," he said in the release.  


Dekko said his merger is the first in an anticipated wave of strategic acquisitions.


"Strategically, we are looking to partner with firms that have demonstrated a commitment to growth and see value in integrating with our proprietary marketing capabilities for new client development and creating efficiencies by utilizing our centralized platform to gain investment management, planning and administrative leverage," he said.


Jim Sandager, who leads Wealth Enhancement Group's West Des Moines office, said the merger will not change how the firm provides service to its local clients.  


"The fact that we're able to add offices without altering our service structure is a testament to our approach of offering high-quality, customized advice that leverages the efficiency of our centralized marketing, retirement planning, investment management and tax planning," he said. Although the firm's centralized operations will likely grow, it will still have that "adviser-next-door" feel, he said.