El Dorado firm to take over Verus Financial

Verus Bank will turn over its wealth management business to an El Dorado firm beginning Monday.

Officials of the $102 million Derby-based bank said Thursday that Spencer Wernli Financial Consultants has acquired Verus Financial Group, a wholly owned subsidiary of Verus Bank.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The deal allows Spencer Wernli to continue providing retail investment services to Verus wealth management customers, said Kevin Chase, chairman and CEO of Verus Bank.

He said that because Verus Financial and Spencer Wernli are affiliated with LPL Financial, an independent broker-dealer, the transition for clients will be "very smooth."

As part of the deal, Spencer Wernli will establish an office in Derby in the former Verus Bank building at 1033 N. Buckner, where Verus Financial also had offices.

David Wernli, a principal and a founder of the 19-year-old firm, said he will work out of the new Derby office for the next year to "help ramp up that location."

Verus customers in Augusta and El Dorado will be served by existing Spencer Wernli offices in those towns. Spencer Wernli is based in El Dorado.

"Expanding into that Derby market is kind of a nice fit," Wernli said.

Chase said the acquisition will affect two Verus Financial investment officers. He said both plan to open their own independent investment offices. One of them will take with him the Verus clients that have been identified as his, Chase said.

"The remaining book of business has been sold to Spencer Wernli," Chase said.

He said the sale of Verus Financial will allow the bank to focus on its core banking business while enhancing its financial performance through reduced operational costs.