Fiduciary Network has acquired a minority equity interest in Austin, Texas-based Durbin Bennett Peterson Private Wealth Management. Formed in 2006 by Mark Hurley and real estate investor and financier Howard Milstein, Fiduciary Network has now completed 13 minority investments in fee-only RIA firms.
Durbin Bennett Peterson is a fast-growing RIA firm managing about $900 million for 200 clients, many of whom have earned their wealth in the Austin and Northern California areas. The firm was spawned from an accounting firm with which it retains a symbiotic relationship.
Brent Durbin, Rick Bennett and Harold Peterson all intend to remain with the firm. The transaction was structured so the main principals could make several other advisors equity partners in the business, according to Fiduciary Network CEO Mark Hurley. "They want to grow with more younger shareholders," he says.
"Like most of our deals, this was a relatively small investment,” Hurley says. “We don't do a lot of deals because we are a passive investor. In all our investments, we keep control of the economics [and ownership] of the business in the hands of the advisors. Once they lose control [and cash out a majority of their equity] they have little interest in growing the business and you wreck the firm."
As advisors who came out of the accounting world, Durbin Bennett Peterson has a strong expertise in tax planning. With several tax attorneys on staff, the firm advises wealthy families on tax issues.
"They have a great bench of young people and the senior owners want to [incentivize] the next generation to grow the firm," Hurley says.