The Edelman Financial Center, a Fairfax, Va.-based financial planning firm headed by planner, author and media talkshow host Ric Edelman, has sold a majority interest in the company to a Houston-based financial services holding company.
   The purchaser, Sanders Morris Harris Group Inc., a publicly held company listed on the Nasdaq, has purchased a 51% interest in the Edelman Financial Center and will buy the remaining shares over the next five years, according to an announcement by both companies. The purchase price was not disclosed.
   Edelman, the founder and chairman of the center, has signed a long-term employment agreement that will have him continuing to operate the company as chairman and chief executive and become one of SMHG's largest shareholders, according to the statement.
   The Edelman Financial Center, through its subsidiary Edelman Financial Services, manages about $2.6 billion in assets for individual and families, according to the statement. Edelman has written five books on personal finance, including, "The Truth About Money," and hosts radio and television finance programs in the Washington D.C. area.
   In an open letter to clients, Edelman added that Ed Moore will remain president of Edelman Financial Services and will take over as chief operating officer.
   Edelman said SMHG was chosen from a pool of 45 candidates that included big-name banks, insurance companies and brokerage firms.
   "Serving the needs of our clients is our top priority, and joining the highly qualified professionals of Sanders Morris Harris Group will help us to maintain that ability for years to come," Edelman said in a statement.
   Edelman also said it would be continuing its relationship with its broker-dealer, Royal Alliance, and that all of EFS's financial planners have signed long-term contracts to continue working at the firm.
   Edelman is among the largest firm in Royal Alliance's netowork. "I think it's fabulous," says Mark Goldberg, president and CEO of Royal Alliance. "It underscores and gives credence to the fact that independents have the ability to build equity and build a practice that has intrinsic value."
   The deal brings SMHG's total assets under management to $10 billion. Edelman's 2004 revenues were $17.7 million and its pretax net income was $3.2 million adjusting for one-time expenses. SMHG expects the transaction to be accretive to its current year earnings.
   Sanders Morris Harris Group also provides investment banking services. Its operating entities are Sanders Morris Harris, Charlotte Capital, Kissinger Financial Center, Pinnacle Trust Co., Salient Partners, SMH Capital Advisors and Select Sports Group.
   "Adding The Edelman Financial Center to our asset management and financial planning group fits our strategy of providing our clients with the full spectrum of services and investment opportunities. We expect to leverage the financial planning services provided by The Edelman Financial Center across our other asset management businesses," said Robert E. Garrison II, President of Sanders Morris Harris Group.