Hightower has continued its growth momentum by investing in North Carolina-based wealth manager Stearns Financial Group (SFG), marking its sixth deal this year.

Financial terms of the transaction were not revealed.

Hightower will provide operational infrastructure, business owner planning, marketing support, family office as well as investment management resources to SFG that manages $1.3bn in assets.

SFG, founded in 1991, has offices in Chapel Hill and Greensboro.

The firm’s employee strength is 32, including 12 advisers. It caters to business owners, executives, multi-generational families, women in transition, and the emerging affluent.

Its new service line offers advice and wealth management for those with emerging affluence and influence.

SFG founder and president Dennis Stearns said: “Being a part of Hightower’s powerful community of advisers will allow us to leverage the benefits of a national RIA while maintaining our well-established brand, culture and business structure.

“The SFG team will continue to provide the professional financial planning, investment management and high touch service our clients have come to know and love, while Hightower brings back office support, advanced technology and NextGen training to our team.”

With the latest deal, Hightower’s count of advisory businesses goes to 111 across 33 states.

The firm’s assets under administration and assets under management totalled around $75.7bn and $56.7bn, respectively, at the end of June 2020.

The deal awaits regulatory nod, with completion expected in the final quarter of this year.

Hightower CEO Bob Oros said: “Stearns Financial Group is exactly the kind of business that Hightower looks for in a strategic investment: a high-performing firm that uses an in-depth, multi-scenario approach to wealth management to help their clients live purposeful lives and make confident financial decisions.”

Earlier this month, Hightower invested in $600m Fort Worth, Texas-based advisory firm Teak Tree Capital Management.

This year, Hightower also made investments in Private Vista, Frontier Investment Management, Osborn Williams & Donohoe, and Wellspring Associates.