Fast-growing Creative Planning Inc. has acquired Hogan Financial Management LLC in Milwaukee, adding $300 million in assets under management. The deal marks the company's fourth acquisition this year, giving Creative Planning 25 U.S. offices and $36 billion in assets under advisement in all 50 states.

Creative Planning President and Chief Investment Officer Peter Mallouk said he now plans to use his company's growing national presence to go head to head with large brokerage firms like JP Morgan, Merrill Lynch and Edward Jones, taking his company's story directly to the consumer by launching a yearlong, multimillion-dollar, national information campaign.

The focus will be on teaching consumers about the benefits of having a financial advisor who is held to a fiduciary standard, rather than one who is not and can sell in-house products because they pay the highest commissions, he said.

Mallouk said the odds are about 90% that a person's advisor is not a fiduciary. “Investors probably are working with a broker who sells in-house products and could be selling something because it earns the highest commission and not because it’s the best for the client," he said.

According to Mallouk, brokerage houses don’t want a fiduciary standard because it will remove their profit centers. “If you’re held to that standard, you can’t charge a higher fee for something that you can get elsewhere for a substantially lower fee…without paying a commission,” he said in an earlier interview.

Paula Hogan, founder and CEO of Hogan Financial and a long-time leader in the fiduciary financial planning space, said she “pursued a methodical, months-long process” assisted by investment banker Annie Tronoski of Park Sutton Advisors to find zero in on Mallouk’s firm.

“I am confident that we have found the right fit for our clients and our team here in Milwaukee,” Hogan told Financial Advisor.

“Creative Planning shares our commitment to respectful, fiduciary client relationships and it has an industry-leading business model and leadership well positioned to help make fiduciary planning the national norm,” she said.

"Paula Hogan has spent her career building a first-class practice. Along with her partner, Clint Wondra, they have established one of the strongest, longest-running independent wealth management firms in Milwaukee,” Mallouk said.

While Creative Planning already has a substantial presence in Wisconsin,” the addition of Hogan Financial will augment our plans to become far more competitive in that market. We are delighted to have them join our team,” he added.

By joining with a firm that is larger and shares a commitment to comprehensive fiduciary planning, “we can continue to work with clients as usual, except that going forward, we’ll have a deeper bench of expertise on which we can draw on behalf of clients, better access to first-rate technology, and a chance to help spread fiduciary planning to a wider circle of the population,” Hogan said.

She said her long-time clients can also relax because she's remaining with the firm. “Sometimes the sale of a firm means the founder is retiring. In this case, it is the opposite. I feel like a new, next chapter is opening up for me personally and I look forward to continuing to pursue my professional passion of working with clients and supporting cutting-edge, fiduciary planning in our industry,” Hogan added.

Hogan Financial is Creative Planning’s fourth acquisition in 2019. In February, the national RIA acquired The Johnston Group LLC in Minneapolis, adding about $500 million in assets. In September, it acquired America's Best 401(k) in Scottsdale, Ariz., adding an estimated $1 billion in assets. In November, it acquired OptiFour Integrated Wealth Management in McLean, Va., adding $400 million in assets.

Combined, the four acquisitions added about $2.2 billion to Creative Planning’s AUM.

After spending the past year doubling the people in its new Overland Park headquarters and adding the latest technology, Mallouk said the firm now has the infrastructure it needs for nationwide growth.