A small West End financial firm has joined forces with a larger Chesterfield peer.
Henrico-based Chancery Advisory Concepts, a three-person wealth management and advisory shop that had been affiliated with MassMutual, is now part of Virginia Asset Management, one of the larger independent advisory outfits in the region.
Chancery’s Gib Sloan, Matt Hale and an administrator have moved into VAM’s Midlothian headquarters at 130 Wylderose Drive, vacating their previous office in Reynolds Crossing at 6641 W. Broad St. The move was effective Feb. 16.
They bring with them about $100 million in client assets under management, bringing VAM’s total to around $2 billion.
The 10-year-old firm had for most of its existence been affiliated with MetLife and used the insurance giant’s broker-dealer. Chancery then became tied into MassMutual in 2016 after it acquired MetLife’s advisory and broker-dealer operations.
Chris Williams, executive vice president of Virginia Asset Management, said Chancery’s move was fueled largely by changes to federal regulations in the advisory industry, most prominently the Department of Labor Fiduciary Rule.
That changed legal and ethical obligations in how advisors act as fiduciaries for their clients and caused some to consider the products they sell and the larger affiliate firms they sell them through.
“The disruption in the industry forced (Chancery) to do a scan of who else is out there and say, ‘Am I in the right place for my clients?’” Williams said.
VAM uses Securian Financial as its broker-dealer.
Williams said VAM has had similar discussions with other smaller firms as the DOL rule changes have come into effect, but none were the right deal at the time.
“We talk to a lot of people,” he said. “They’re good people and they have good practices but they’re just not the right fit. It’s 95 percent cultural and more of a gut feeling.”
Williams said VAM liked Chancery’s focus on advising businesses on retirement plans and helping businesses advise their employees on their individual financial well-being.
VAM has around 115 employees and affiliate advisors, including around 75 who work out of its Midlothian office. The 32-year-old firm also has offices in Norfolk, South Hill and northern Virginia, along with affiliate outposts in Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Minnesota.
Williams said VAM hasn’t historically looked to grow via merger or acquisition, but that it’s open for other deals similar to Chancery’s move.
“It’s always an ongoing conversation because we are a firm that’s interested in growing in and outside the Virginia marketplace,” he said. “For the right individual or the right teams, we could be a good home.”