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Sioux Tribe Buys US Financial Services Firm

The Westrock Group, a New York-based financial services firm with about $1.4 billion of assets under management, will become the first brokerage firm to be owned by a Native American tribe.

The firm announced on Wednesday it had been acquired by LBC Western Holdings, which is owned by the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, located in Lower Brule, South Dakota.

Westrock said it will continue to operate as an independent broker-dealer with its brokerage, asset management and wealth management subsidiaries, and day-to-day operations unchanged.

“We’re looking to continue our business as is,” Donald Hunter, CEO of the Westrock Group, told CNBC. “We’re also starting a new division to service the Native American tribes...and we’ll also help raise capital on reservations for tribes that are looking to build hospitals or help with schools.”

Hunter added that becoming part of a 100 percent Native-American-owned firm will allow Westrock to benefit from federal and state tax exemptions.

Michael Jandreau, chairman of the Lower Brule Sious Tribe, told CNBC he hopes this venture will help his tribe overcome social problems on the reserve related to housing, education and jobs.

“We created a corporation for the explicit idea of going out and seeking businesses that would be a good fit as capital generators and opportunities for the tribe to utilize the resources that it had," he said.

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