US-based Focus Financial network enters Aussie market

clock • 2 min read

Focus Financial Partners, which lays claim to being America’s largest independent wealth management partnership, has entered the Australian market for the first time – with the addition to its increasingly-global network of the Melbourne-based MW Lomax Group.

In a statement announcing the signing-up of MW Lomax, Focus said it would look to “accelerate” the Australian firm’s growth by giving it access to Focus’s capital base and “value-added resources”.

MW Lomax is the third international firm to join the Focus network, following Canada-based Dorchester Wealth Management last year and UK-based Greystone Financial Services in 2008.

New York City-based Focus was founded in 2006 by Ruediger Adolf, Rajini Kodialam, and Leonard Chang, and now is comprised of some 40 “partner firms”. It is said to have been among the US advisory firms leading the move from “wirehouse broker dealers” to 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 for the last few years, including 2015 and 2014.

In a statement on its website posted yesterday, Focus said it saw “enormous growth potential” in the Australian market, at the same time that consumer demand for “truly independent financial planning advice” was being intensified by that country’s ongoing regulatory reforms in the financial services sector.

Founded in 2002

MW Lomax was founded in 2002 by Nick Maikousis and Jon White, and currently employs 55 people in its Melbourne and Sydney offices, according to the Focus statement.

White, who is group managing director at MW Lomax, said he and his colleagues at the company were looking forward to being able to tap into Focus’s capital and resources “to achieve the next stage of growth, while maintaining [its] independence and local characteristics”, as they had seen other wealth management firms in other countries do.

“In addition to the M&A expertise, we look forward to utilising Focus’s value-add programs in operations, technology, compliance and marketing,” he added.