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Ron Carson
Ron Carson

Bain Capital Takes Minority Stake in Carson Group

The private equity firm will help the company pursue 'continued growth, technology development and expansion by acquisition,' according to the RIA. Founder and CEO Ron Carson will still be the majority owner.

The private equity firm Bain Capital is purchasing a “strategic investment” in Carson Group after valuing it at $1 billion, the Nebraska-based RIA announced today. With the new investment, Carson Group will keep its current executive leadership team, including founder and CEO Ron Carson, who will continue to be the company’s majority owner.

In a statement, Carson acknowledged there’d been an “extensive search” for a strategic partner for Carson Group in the past several months and said the process gave them insight into how they could add value for investors.

“Looking forward at this exciting inflection point, Bain Capital is the ideal fit for us—culturally and strategically,” he said. “We wanted an investing partner who brings deep operational knowledge and resources to help further our efforts and ensure we continue to deliver a compelling value proposition to our advisors and their clients.”

To complete the deal, Bain purchased equity interests from Long Ridge Equity Partners, which had held a minority investment in Carson Group since 2016. Bain was founded in 1984 and currently works on four continents, with more than 1,200 employees and about $130 million in assets under management. Bain previously made several investments into the fintech space, including with Acorns, SigFig and SquareTrade, among others.

Carson Group and Bain Capital share some similarities in that they both come from a consulting/coaching heritage, which helped the two firms connect when deciding to partner, according to Carson Group CFO Nick Engelbart. In an interview with, Englebart said that from a governance perspective, he saw Bain’s positive impact in a number of ways, including in marketing and lead generation for advisors, as well as in further building out tech offerings for both clients and advisors.

The Bain partnership would assist Carson Group in its ongoing M&A strategy, Engelbart said. The RIA was focused on “all facets” of M&A and hoped to bring in advisors who were the right cultural fit.

He said historically the firm had been “mildly aggressive” with M&A but would seek to be more active with both direct partners coming onto their platform as well as existing partners. Additionally, he noted the Bain deal would give them “more firepower” to pursue larger-scale M&A opportunities.

“I think Bain obviously brings a ton of intellectual knowledge and strategic thinking. They also think for the long term,” Engelbart said. “For them, I think, just being able to think through larger-scale M&A will be an exciting facet for us with them."

Jeff Robinson, a managing director with Bain, said the Carson Group family was “well-respected” for its emphasis on growth, coaching strategies and tech platform, while Olof Bergqvist, another managing director, lauded the way in which Carson Group set itself apart in the financial services space.

“In a large and highly fragmented market, Carson Group stands out with a differentiated value proposition for advisors and clients, and we are excited to help accelerate the growth and further build out a strategic platform reshaping the future of financial advice,” he said.

Carson Group’s financial advisor for the transaction was Moelis & Company, while Quarles & Brady acted as its legal counsel. For Bain, Ardea Partners worked as financial advisor on the deal, with Kirkland and Ellis operating as legal counsel and KPMG onboard as an accounting and tax advisor.

The Carson Group, founded in 1983, includes Carson Wealth, Carson Coaching and Carson Partners, and currently manages more than $17 billion in assets. It works with more than 37,000 families in 110 partner offices, including 30 Carson Wealth locations.

The Bain deal comes weeks after the RIA named Mary Kate Gulick, formerly of TD Ameritrade Institutional, as its chief marketing officer. Carson Group will also be holding its 2021 Excell conference in person with a virtual option in Las Vegas this October, after it was postponed last year.

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