Another independent dealer has been absorbed.

Raymond James Ltd. has agreed to acquire 3Macs (MacDougall, MacDougall & MacTier Inc.), which will add 72 advisors managing approximately $6 billion of client assets to Raymond James’ book.

3Macs will continue to operate under the 3Macs brand as a division of Raymond James following the closing.

“[T]his will be seamless to 3Macs advisors and their clients, and our focus will be on ensuring this process is executed with thoughtful consideration and minimal impact,” said Paul Allison, chairman and CEO of Raymond James Ltd., in a release. “We are also committed to ensuring a smooth transition for 3Macs clients and will be contacting them in the near future to communicate further.”

During a conference call this afternoon, Allison said the acquisition is “a great cultural fit” and “almost a perfect strategic fit,” adding “it’s going to layer in very nicely without virtually any redundancies.”

Geography was one of the considerations that went into the acquisition, Allison said. “The 3Macs business represents a new geography for us to really be able to build our business in the province of Quebec. […] [It] really does take Raymond James to a new level, being very much a national firm with offices now from coast to coast.”

The quality of 3Macs’ advisors was also a big draw, Allison said, noting 51 of those advisors are registered portfolio managers, “which is a very high standard in wealth management to achieve and to maintain. As a result of that, the firm has a very high percentage of fee-based assets. In fact, they would be one of the leaders in the industry in terms of establishing a fee-based business.” He added that 3Macs is a business “we can learn from to elevate our fee-based business beyond where we are today.”

Concerning advisor retention, Peter Kahnert, senior vice president of corporate communications and marketing at Raymond James, told Advisor.ca in an interview that “the goal is to keep 100% of the advisors of the firm.” He added that 3Macs will benefit from Raymond James’ stable of almost 100 equity analysts in the U.S. and Canada covering more than 1,300 companies.

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Randy Ambrosie, president and CEO of 3Macs, said in an interview with Advisor.ca that the process of seeking an industry partner began at a board meeting on November 8, 2015.

The board undertook “an exhaustive evaluation of the marketplace […], look[ing] at the entire industry and try[ing] to understand what different firms were doing, what their strategies were, how well their strategies aligned with our culture and vision for how we service clients. And then it was just like a funnel—the more we understood, it made some firms better contenders, [and] it made some firms less attractive.”

Ambrosie says “a number of firms […] were attractive but none measured up the way Raymond James did.” A special committee of the 3Macs board, which included three portfolio managers, “created a scorecard system where we evaluated everything that we believed was important to our clients, and the Raymond James scorecard at the end of the process was a perfect fit.”

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He singles out Raymond James’ technology platform and wealth management services as two key areas that will bolster 3Macs’ existing capabilities. Culture was another deciding factor. “[Raymond James] values that independent culture where we’re not selling products to our clients. For us, that was one of the most critical elements of our decision. We fundamentally believe, as does Raymond James, that the best client relationships start with a white piece of paper; it doesn’t start with us having something to sell our clients.”

Ambrosie acknowledges that regulatory pressures were part of the decision to seek an industry partner. “In the background, behind it all, is: ours is an industry in the midst of change, and some would say maybe not even an evolution, but maybe perhaps even a revolution. Certainly regulatory changes [are] an impetus to that.”

Today’s announcement follows an April 2016 analysis from Scotia Capital that looked at which institution would be well-placed to purchase Richardson GMP, should it go up for sale. The analysts pegged Raymond James Canada, National Bank and Industrial Alliance as the likeliest buyers.

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The 3Macs transaction is subject to customary approvals including regulatory and shareholder approval and is expected to close in the fall of 2016.