Bob Wacker, with advisers' help, buys back his SLO company

kleslie@thetribunenews.comOctober 24, 2013 

Bob Wacker, shown in 2005.

JOE JOHNSTON — jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

Local financial planner and 2008 San Luis Obispo Citizen of the Year Bob Wacker has repurchased his investment advising firm, R.E. Wacker Associates, from Union Bank.

The transaction closed Oct. 23 for an undisclosed sum.

Wacker founded the San Luis Obispo-based firm in 1988 but sold it to Santa Barbara bank Pacific Capital Bancorp in 2007 for an initial payment of $6.9 million, according to previous Tribune reports.

At the time, Pacific Capital wanted to keep the firm almost exactly the same and allowed Wacker and his operational team to operate independently of the company, he told The Tribune on Thursday.

Pacific Capital Bancorp struggled through the financial crisis, however, and in 2012 was purchased by UnionBanCal Corp., which owns Union Bank.

At that point, Wacker had to reconsider the direction the firm was going in, he said.

“When I sold it six years ago, it was to a regional bank, that we were fairly substantive in their operations,” Wacker said “They’re great people (at Union Bank), but they are a much larger company. As most large companies do, they are centralized for many parts of operations.”

This would have led to changes in the firm’s operations, as well as possibly losing some workers, Wacker said.

So instead, he and seven of his investment advisers decided to repurchase the firm. Besides Wacker, the new ownership team includes Bryan Krill, Matt Wilson, Patrick O’Hara, Mary Rose, Joan Wenglikowski, Ryan Caldwell and Alex Pock.

The firm’s name will be changed to R.E. Wacker Wealth Partners, LLC, to reflect the larger ownership, Wacker said.

The privately held firm currently has 13 employees and manages more than $650 million in assets.

Wacker said he plans to keep all employees, as well as possibly add more positions as the firm continues to grow.

The company will continue to be based in San Luis Obispo.

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