Adviser Investments, which started as a market newsletter and grew into a $1.3 billion firm, is now buying another $700 million in AUM from E*Trade in the form of Kobren Insight Management.
Adviser Investments is run by Vanguard newsletter boss Dan Wiener, who is still known for the Independent Adviser. Although terms of the deal were not disclosed, it's apparent that Kobren will represent another dramatic acquisition -- the 12th in recent memory -- for Adviser Investments.
E*Trade bought Kobren 5-1/2 years ago but appears to have given up on ways to figure out what to do with the relatively high-end business, which aims at a very different crowd from the traditional E*Trade self-directed market.
Fiduciary Network, a potential suitor for Kobren in its own right, was approached but denied. Instead, the company went back to i to Adviser Investments and offered to fund the transaction in exchange for a minority stake.
Mark Hurley of Fiduciary Network somewhat controversially says that only 40 RIA companies -- including Adviser Investments -- are "professionally managed," but failed to say exactly what he means by that.
Ether way, the three entities are now allies in the search for ever-greater scale in the industry. And at $2 billion, this is now an area that other brokers are watching -- and not primarily as traders, but as active competitors.