Univest completes acquisition, boosts assets to $3B

By - Last modified: January 28, 2014 at 10:38 AM

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Souderton-based Univest Corp. of Pennsylvania said it completed the acquisition of Girard Partners Ltd. through Univest’s wholly-owned subsidiary Univest Bank and Trust Co.

On Dec. 19, Univest entered into an agreement to buy the registered investment advisory firm and its $500 million in assets under management. With the acquisition completed, Univest has $3 billion in assets under management and has expanded its advisory capabilities, it said.

As a Univest company, Girard Partners Ltd. will continue to operate with its existing management structure out of its main office in King of Prussia and satellite offices in Richmond, Va., and Fort Myers, Fla.

Kevin Norris, president of the firm, will remain in the role and continue to lead the team of 12.

Girard Partners will retain its name, said Kenneth Hochstetler, president of Univest Wealth Management for Univest Bank and Trust Co. and Univest Investments.

Univest sought out Norris after Hochstetler met him at an industry forum. Hochstetler said he was interested in learning more about Girard Partners' platform that it built over the last 15 years and how it could help Univest acquire a platform it could build from, since Univest already had some of the same capabilities.

With a growing platform, Univest now is looking to bring additional capabilities to Girard Partners that are already a part of Univest. This process includes hiring more staff.

"The main theme we look for is talent," Hochstetler said. "So I would expect that we would be adding people."

Now that the acquisition is complete, Univest will bring several services to Girard Partners' clients, including fiduciary trust, mortgages, personal insurance and lines of credit, Hochstetler said.

"We now have abilities to execute those strategies for clients," Hochstetler said. "It's very client-oriented in terms of what the solutions will be."

Over the past 15 years, Univest has continued to grow through acquisitions.

Univest devised its strategy of being about more than banking in the 1990s, Hochstetler said. Through the 2000s, Univest completed about seven insurance agency acquisitions.

Brian Pedersen

Brian Pedersen

Reporter Brian Pedersen covers construction, development, warehousing and real estate and keeps you up to date on the changing landscape of our community. He can be reached at brianp@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 108. Follow him on Twitter @BrianLehigh and read his blog, “Can You Dig It,” at http://www.lvb.com/section/can-you-dig-it. Brian also has a strong interest in health and fitness. He works part-time as a personal trainer at Steel Fitness Riverport in Bethlehem and earned his personal fitness trainer certification from World Instructor Training Schools.

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