NY’s Focus Financial Partners acquires Gold Coast wealth management boutique

Focus Financial Partners, the New York-based advisory group that claims to being America’s largest independent wealth management partnership, has expanded its presence in the Australian market with the acquisition of a Gold Coast, Queensland-based, family-run wealth management boutique, Financial Professionals.

The announcement of the acquisition comes 19 months after  Focus announced it was entering Australia  for the first time, with the addition to its increasingly-global advisory network of the Melbourne-based MW Lomax Group, through a minority stake, and seven months after it revealed that two private equity houses, Stone Point Capital and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co, were acquiring a majority stake in the business. MW Lomax subsequently acquired another Aussie advisory business, the Brisbane-based Westwood Group.

News of the acquisition also coincides with the announcement earlier this month that another American financial services company, NYSE-listed Charles Schwab, is returning to the Australian market  after a 17-year hiatus, in order to help “self-directed” Australian investors to access the US markets.

Details of Focus Financial Partners’ acquisition of Financial Professionals, including the price paid, weren’t given.

Financial Professionals will continue to operate under the FinProf name, and its founder and chief executive Ross Rickard will remain with the company, as will the firm’s six-member team, a Focus spokesperson said.

Founded in 1999

According to Focus Financial, Financial Professionals was founded in 1999, and looks after high-net-worth individuals and trustees of self-managed super funds (SMSFs)  in the Gold Coast and Brisbane region.

Financial Professional founder Rickard said  Focus Financial was just the sort of “strategic partner” he and his FinProf associates had been looking for, capable of not just exploring the market’s opportunities but also able “to provide us with management support”.

“With the backing from Focus, we are looking to form more strategic partnerships to extend our client offerings and deepen our bench strength,” he added.

Focus Financial Partners was founded in 2006 by Rudy Adolf (pictured above), who remains the firm’s chief executive, along with Rajini Kodialam and Leonard Chang, both of whom also are still involved in the business. Today it is comprised of more than 50 “partner firms”, and according to a spokesperson, “closes about 20 transactions a year”, including a number of different types of structures including mergers and partnerships.

Focus Financial was among the first US advisory firms to evolve away from the “wirehouse broker/dealer” model, in the direction of registered investment advisers (RIAs, as they are known in the US), and its business is said to have grown rapidly as a result.

It has been included on Inc magazine’s annual ranking of America’s fastest-growing private companies six times, including this year.

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