Infinex Financial Group completed its acquisition of Essex National Securities following FINRA's recent approval of the deal.

The acquisition, announced last May, will give Meriden, Conn., based Infinex greater scale, allowing it to offset rising regulatory and technology costs, analysts say. It will also position the company to serve clients on both the East and West Coast as Essex is based in Napa, Calif.

"With Infinex in the East and Essex in the West, they are better positioned geographically to offer services anywhere, although Essex had clients in the East and Infinex has been moving West for some time," said Michael White, president of Michael White Associates, a research and consulting firm in Radnor, Pa. 

With the acquisition complete, the companies will move forward in the coming months to combine resources.  All of Essex's advisors and financial institutions will switch over to Infinex in a "seamless conversion" with customer and advisor account numbers remaining the same, said Stephen Amarante, Infinex's president and CEO.

"We are excited to move forward as a combined entity. It's an exciting time," he said.

In addition, key leaders within the Essex organization will join Infinex.  Scott Davis, the president and CEO of Essex, will lead the business development and sales management divisions of the merged organization as executive vice president and chief relationship officer.  Amarante will remain at the helm of the firm.

Amarante painted the acquisition as a "merger," saying that each firm would borrow the best of what the other firm had to offer. There were "great things" that Essex had that would be offered to Infinex financial institutions and vice versa, he said.

Industry observers hailed the combination, describing the two firms as complimentary.  Infinex's focus on small banks and Essex's focus on larger banks made the two firms a good matchup, they said.

The combination also moved both firms from the back of the pack to somewhere in the middle, analysts noted.  Together, the two firms will serve 210 financial institutions, placing sixth among the 10 largest third-party marketing firms, according to data in the latest Kehrer Bielan Annual TPM report. Prior to the combination, Infinex was in seventh place, while Essex ranked last.

The merger also allowed them to boost their profile in terms of number of financial advisors. The combined entity now has 500 advisors, putting it in fifth place among rivals. Prior to the acquisition, Infinex ranked seventh, according to Kehrer Bielan data.  In addition, the combined company employs 1,000 licensed branch employees nationwide.

The merged organization is expected to generate over $120 million in annual revenue, according to Infinex. It will continue to be headquartered in Meriden, Conn., and will  maintain an office in Napa, Calif., providing bicoastal service and support.

"We are thrilled to be a part of Infinex and their bank ownership structure," Scott Davis, president and CEO of Essex, said in a statement. "This step places our combined firms at the forefront of our industry."

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