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Cambridge Launches New Fee-Only RIA

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Cambridge Investment Research has launched BridgePort Financial Solutions, a fee-only registered investment advisor firm that aims to support the business and succession planning needs of smaller independent advisory shops.

Executives say the new firm will focus on taking majority and minority stakes in RIAs with $250 million in assets or less — smaller than firms generally targeted by major RIA consolidators (or rollup firms), some of which are supported by private equity funding. 

BridgePort will invest in firms that custody assets with BNY Mellon Pershing, Fidelity’s National Financial, Charles Schwab and SEI, according to two Cambridge leaders who spoke early Tuesday with ThinkAdvisor. Its platform is built on technology provided by Orion Advisor Solutions.

The BridgePort model “will not cannibalize” the acquisition and affiliation goals of Cambridge itself due to growing demand in the independent RIA marketplace for a variety of relationship models and acquisition styles, said Jeff Vivacqua, head of growth and development for the firm.

BridgePort has already acquired three firms with a combined $1 billion in assets under advisement. Two of the deals were inked as full acquisitions, he explained, while one was organized as a minority investment.

The goal for 2024, Vivacqua says, is to make five to 10 more deals. The new channel is being led by Eddie Rollins, a former partner at Horizon Investments, who helped lead that firm’s distribution efforts over the past 14 years.

Rollins has over 35 years of financial services experience, Vivacqua says. He also will join Cambridge’s executive council and will work closely with another recent hire at Cambridge, Dee Morgan, senior vice president of strategic acquisitions.

“We created BridgePort with the smaller RIA business owner in mind,” Vivacqua explained. “For many firms that fall into this category, it may make sense to streamline operations and accelerate their growth pattern by becoming part of a larger group. That is why we created this standalone firm. It’s a different business model than Cambridge.”

In addition to Orion technology, advisors joining BridgePort will gain access to tools for succession and acquisition planning, practice management, business consulting and outsourcing solutions.

Advisors joining BridgePort can sell a minority (20% minimum), majority or full ownership stake in their business. They also can use the BridgePort name or keep their firms’ established brand. In addition, the acquisition process includes customized continuity and succession plans.

Cambridge currently works with about 3,800 financial professionals with $151 billion of assets under advisement as of Sept. 30, 2023.


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