Independent wealth management consolidator Focus Financial Partners' Colony Group will merge with Mintz Levin Financial Advisors, company officials announced today.
Colony Group, a Focus partner firm since October, and Mintz Levin Financial Advisors (MLFA) are Boston-based registered investment advisory firms with combined client assets of about $2.5 billion. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Michael Nathanson, Colony chairman and CEO, said, "as our firm has grown, we have increasingly observed the tremendous advantages that could be realized by uniting with a like-minded, complementary business. I look forward to leveraging the synergies between Colony and MLFA to bring even greater value to our clients."
MLFA was founded by Robert Glovsky, Cary Geller and the law firm of Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo. An average MLFA client has about $3 million in investible assets. The firm specializes in serving high-net-worth individuals within a range of $1 million to $30 million wealth.
MLFA will adopt Colony's name and relocate to the firm's Boston headquarters. Geller and Glovsky, who is a former chairman of the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards and the founder of Boston University's Program for Financial Planners, will join Colony's executive management team. Glovsky will serve as Colony's vice chairman.
Michael Paley, managing director at Focus and one of the executives who orchestrated the transaction, said, "Focus has consistently facilitated strategic transactions on behalf of our partner firms thanks to our structure and resources. We look forward to building on this success and finding strategic ways to serve our current and future partner firms."
Launched in 2006, Focus Financial Partners is an international partnership of independent, fiduciary wealth management firms with over $50 billion in assets. Founded in 1986, the Colony Group provides investment, wealth management and other financial advisory services to high-net-worth individuals and families, corporate clients, retirement plans and charitable foundations. Operating offices in Boston and Naples, Fla., it oversees about $1.4 billion in client assets.
Founded in 1998, MLFA provides high-net-worth individuals and families with financial planning services and oversees about $1.1 billion in client assets.
Several weeks ago, it was reported that Focus's original backer, Summit Partners, a Boston-based private equity firm, had retained Goldman Sachs to explore a possible sale of Focus. The acquisition of MLFA, widely considered a top-tier firm, presumably enhances the appeal of Focus, bringing the consolidator's total assets to more than $50 billion.
Sources familiar with the talks said Goldman had narrowed the list of prospective purchasers down to three other private equity firms. One of the attractions of Focus is that it already has a sophisticated capital structure in place and it is starting to reach a position of significant scale. The issue that potential buyers are wrestling with is trying to value exactly what the common equity is worth.
These sources added there was no certainty Summit would consummate a transaction for Focus, but noted that six years after funding the venture, the private equity firm wanted to place a value on it. Potential acquirers in the private equity space became interested in Focus after Thomas H. Lee agreed to pay $257 million for Edelman Financial Services in April.