Simplicity Group Holdings ("Simplicity"), a leading financial products distribution business, today announced that it has entered into an agreement with Lee Equity Partners ("Lee Equity") pursuant to which Lee Equity will become the new majority owner of the company. Simplicity was previously majority owned by Aquiline Capital Partners ("Aquiline"). Additional terms of the transaction, which is expected to close by the end of 2020 subject to regulatory approvals, were not disclosed.
"We are excited for Lee Equity to join the Simplicity Group as we look to accelerate the pace of our growth after four straight years of expansion, which we enjoyed with Aquiline's support," said Bruce Donaldson, President & CEO of Simplicity. "In the short period since our inception, Simplicity has led a transformation of the retirement-planning industry, with a commitment to client education and consumer value. Our new partnership with Lee Equity will allow us to accelerate our growth, while maintaining the distinguishing hallmark of our business: a true, collaborative partnership culture that attracts industry-leading professionals."
"We are proud to have partnered with Simplicity as it successfully built a diversified financial products distribution business and became a preferred partner for independent agents, advisors, and distribution company owners," said Jeff Greenberg, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Aquiline. "We wish the team the best for the future."
"Lee Equity seeks to back leading entrepreneurs," said Mark Gormley, Partner at Lee Equity. "Bruce and the broader Simplicity team have done an incredible job of growing the business into a clear market leader in a short four-year period. We believe that Lee Equity can help Simplicity drive the next phase of its growth and continue to recruit industry-leading Principals to the partnership."
"Simplicity represents a unique opportunity for leaders in the retirement-planning and wealth advisory business to join a proven collaborative partnership, offering its Principals an unrivaled suite of products, services, and personal value-creating opportunities," said Mr. Donaldson. "On behalf of our twenty-seven Principals and our two hundred and fifty employees, I would like to welcome Lee Equity to the partnership that is the Simplicity Group."
Waller Helms Advisors served as exclusive financial advisor to Simplicity and Sirote & Permutt, PC, together with Willkie, Farr & Gallagher LLP, served as Simplicity's counsel. Oliver Wyman acted as strategic advisor to Lee Equity and Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, served as legal advisor to Lee Equity.