Empower Retirement to acquire Personal Capital – Business Insider

The US-based retirement services provider has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire wealthtech Personal Capital for an initial $825 million, with a further $175 million in planned growth incentives.

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Personal Capital describes itself as a hybrid advisor: It offers automated portfolios in stocks and bonds for retail investors and registered investment advisors, much like fully automated robo-advisors, but it also offers human advice and financial planning services and tools, including on tax optimization and insurance coverage. Empower Retirement is a subsidiary of Canadian insurer Great-West Lifeco and is the second-largest administrator of retirement investment plans in the US.

Personal Capital has been seeking a buyer on and off for at least a few years and has been in negotiations with other financial institutions (FIs). Personal Capital has likely been exploring a takeover in order to access a steady stream of funding and infrastructure to help scale its business. It was in negotiations with JPMorgan about a potential acquisition, but talks broke down over Personal Capital’s price: The $1 billion price tag for a wealth manager yet to turn a profit was deemed inflated by JP Morgan, according to RIABiz.

Empower Retirement likely agreed to acquire Personal Capital because of its strong growth path and the potential to integrate with its offering to boost the customer experience.

  • Personal Capital has enjoyed growth in its assets under management (AUM) in the last year. Personal Capital now has over $12.3 billion AUM, signifying about a $2 billion increase in the last year. This likely enticed Empower Retirement to target the hybrid advisor, as the wealthtech has the potential to turn a profit with the scalability that the partnership between the two firms will offer.
  • Empower Retirement can integrate Personal Capital’s services with its own to build a complete financial wellness picture for clients and boost the customer experience. Going forward, Empower Retirement can bring together its own retirement plan services and Personal Capital’s wealth management platform to better serve financial planning and retirement needs by providing a complete picture of a user’s financial health. Moreover, Empower Retirement will be able to boost its own service offerings by leveraging Personal Capital’s digitally enhanced platform and financial planning tools to boost the customer experience.

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