Focus Financial Partners, LLC, a holding company of independent wealth management firms, has recently hired former Charles Schwab Institutional executive Richard Gill to spearhead efforts to expand its portfolio of affiliates.
   As vice president at New York-based Focus, Gill's mandate is to help brokers transition to the independent, fiduciary advisor model in hopes that they will eventually partner with Focus. The company has 12 affiliate firms with $22 billion in assets under management, and it invests in individuals or firms with at least $300 million AUM.
   Gill says Focus seeks brokers who already conduct their business like independent RIAs. "We're interested in corner-office brokers who act like fiduciaries and are treating their business like an RIA acting in the best interests of their clients," he says. "We see them as a pool of potential wealth advisors."
   Focus generally acquires 40% to 60% of a firm's cash flow in exchange for cash and an ownership position in the holding company. Acquired firms receive backoffice, compliance and tech support to help their businesses grow.
   In addition, acquired entitities hope to profit through earn-outs based on their growth rate as a Focus affiliate. And, given Focus' stated goal to go public, there's the possibility of cashing in from an eventual IPO if and when that occurs. "With our success it might be sooner than we planned," says Gill.
   Focus is funded by Summit Partners, a Boston-based private equity and venture capital firm.
   At Schwab Institutional, Gill helped launch new services for Schwab's 5,000 RIA clients, including the commission partnership between Schwab Institutional and Cambridge that provides services to advisors turning independent. He also advised Schwab Institutional's senior executives on potential acquisition targets and coordinated due diligence efforts. Before joining Schwab, Gill did financial analysis and due diligence on technology leveraged buyouts at Silver Lake Partners.