Savant Capital Management Advances Aggressive M&A Growth
Hand-Selected M&A Deal Team Created to Transform the Fee-Only, Independent RIA Industry
- Aging industry, fee pressure, service expansion needs and inadequate succession planning present a challenge to almost 40 percent of current RIA owners
- Savant pioneering proactive and innovative approach to RIA acquisitions for benefit of owners, employees and clients
- Newly assembled team consists of seasoned leaders with active approach in Savant’s growth
- Firm well-positioned to reach its goal of improving 1 million lives in 25 years
Savant Capital Management, a nationally-recognized fee-only wealth management firm headquartered in Rockford, IL, with locations in Chicago, Downers Grove, Freeport, Hoffman Estates, Naperville, Peoria, St. Charles, Sterling, and Wilmette, IL; Santa Fe, NM; Madison and Park Falls, WI; and McLean, VA, today announced that it is pioneering an innovative and unmatched approach to transform the industry of fee-only, independent RIAs.
With six successful acquisitions since 2012, an innovative recapitalization of $56 million, a unique employee-ownership structure, and recent hires comprised of seasoned mergers and acquisition (M&A), knowledgeable team leaders, Savant is well-positioned to provide the best-in-class M&A approach in the industry.
From 1986 to 2011, Savant grew to nearly $2 billion in assets under management (AUM) through 100 percent organic growth. The firm made its first acquisition in 2012 and has since conducted five additional acquisitions.
In 2016, Savant recapitalized through an innovative approach, raising more than $50 million. Savant’s exclusive capital structure – patient capital – provides it a sustainable, competitive advantage to secure lasting partnerships in the future and provides Savant the time to execute a long-term growth strategy.
“Savant’s patient capital allows us to focus on true partnerships with firms seeking an alternative to financial buyers and short-term focused ‘roll- up’ firms backed by private equity,” said Brent Brodeski, CEO of Savant. “Additionally, our shared ownership model reaches deep into our organization, with over 80 owners, which is unique to the industry and attractive to future partners.
“Fee pressure and service expansion are all too-readily becoming an industry reality for many RIA founders. That, combined with the aging industry and the fact that the majority of founders have not solved their own succession planning, presents a challenge to almost 40 percent of current RIA owners,” Brodeski added.
Savant’s approach allows current owners to transfer a portion of their ownership into a faster-growing, dividend-paying equity that offers multiple “bites of the apple” compared to the “cash out and soon retire” options prevalent in the industry today. The firm seeks out partners who are compatible with Savant’s evidence-based investment philosophy, aspire to build a best-in-class firm for their clients, team and owners, and who are committed to robust financial planning for their clients.
The acquisition opportunity also clearly and decisively enhances the client experience by offering leading-edge technology and an integrated team approach to financial advice from taxes to wealth transfer, to trust needs and business succession planning.
“Our ideal partner is one in which its AUM is $250 million to $3 billion with a founder interested and engaged in succession planning and putting next-generation leadership in place,” said Brodeski. “Such founders are not looking to abruptly go into the sunset but rather be an important part of going big and building something special that both improves a lot of lives and creates significant wealth for their teams. Savant also has an unwavering commitment to its culture of excellence and growth in which collaboration and humility are favored over self-promotion.”
M&A Deal Team
A newly assembled M&A deal team consists of highly credentialed industry veterans, each with more than 25 years of experience to move this initiative forward.
The recent hiring of Steve Parish as Senior Managing Director of Corporate Development for Savant solidifies its commitment to continue the firm’s bold approach to help improve 1 million lives in 25 years. Parish joined Savant in July, is a member of the Executive Team and has a membership interest in Savant. He has oversight responsibility for the end-to-end M&A process.
Parish previously served as the CEO/president of two marquee investment advisory firms spanning over two decades. More recently, he led M&A efforts for a large accounting firm and provided M&A advisory consulting services to the industry. He brings a unique blend of experience as a trust officer, portfolio manager, CEO and investment banker leading buy-and-sell side engagements.
Eric Meier also recently joined Savant as its Chief Financial Officer. Meier most recently served as CFO and Managing Director for an investment advisor, asset manager, and broker/dealer headquartered in Chicago. He’s also held leadership positions as CFO and COO of a national registered investment advisor and as COO and managing director for a global private investment and trading company. He spent 14 years with the Chicago Board of Trade/CME Group and was a key member of the finance team that took it public. He has significant experience in executing successful mergers and acquisitions strategies within the wealth management industry. Meier is a member of the Executive Team and has a membership interest in Savant. He has oversight responsibility for all aspects of Savant’s finance function.
Parish and Meier join a solid M&A deal team already in place comprised of Kevin Hrdlicka, Chief Operating Officer, who leads the M&A integration process, Doug Moffitt, Chief Advisory and Development Officer, Mike Ruane, Director of Corporate Development, and Derek Carter, Senior Investment Research Analyst and Portfolio Integration Manager who oversees Savant’s M&A diligence process.
“Individually, I believe these team members are, without a doubt, the very best in the industry. Together, their combined expertise and energy will allow us to move faster, smarter and more efficiently,” said Brodeski.
Improving the Lives of 1 Million People
Savant’s overarching goal within the next 25 years is to “build ideal futures for our clients, our team and the communities we serve. Our long-time horizon and commitment to growth and excellence will allow us to improve more than 1 million lives.”
The objective is to improve lives financially, professionally, educationally, philanthropically, and in myriad other ways. Lives might be improved directly (clients and team members), indirectly (retirement plan participants of 401(k) plans managed by Savant), or tangentially (beneficiaries of the good work done by non-profits that Savant, Savant’s clients and Savant team members support).