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Michigan RIA Joins Focus Financial Partner Firm

The deal between Investment Counsel and LaFleur & Godfrey will mark the latter's second transaction in the past 12 months, and comes after Focus partner firms had a busy 2020 in M&A activity.

LaFleur & Godfrey, a Grand Rapids, Mich.–based registered investment advisor and a Focus Financial Partners firm, is acquiring Investment Counsel, a $164 million AUM firm also based in Michigan.

Investment Counsel President Chris Walker said his firm would help enhance the investment capabilities offered by LaFleur & Godfrey, while benefiting from the larger partner's infrastructure. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“This transaction will allow Investment Counsel to leverage L&G’s extensive resources and enable us to establish a long-term continuity plan so that Investment Counsel’s clients will always be taken care of,” Walker said.

Investment Counsel manages more than $164 million in assets under management on a discretionary basis as of the end of 2020, according to the firm’s Form ADV, and was originally established in 1929. According to Walker, the firm offers portfolio management services for high-net-worth individuals, as well as families and institutions. LaFleur & Godfrey manages $614 million in AUM. 

In July of last year, LaFleur & Godfrey acquired the business of Daniel McAdams, who became a partner emeritus at the firm. With that deal, LaFleur & Godfrey increased its presence in West Michigan (Investment Counsel is located in Petoskey, Mich., which is on the northwest edge of the state’s lower peninsula). Focus Chairman and CEO Rudy Adolf said he was “delighted” Investment Counsel would be joining LaFleur & Godfrey.

“This is L&G’s second transaction in the last twelve months, and another demonstration of how we help our partner firms to enhance their client service capabilities through our differentiated M&A and sourcing expertise,” he said. “This transaction also reinforces our expertise in structuring innovative succession planning solutions for founders seeking to transition their business.”

Focus Financial Partners had a busy 2020, with a total of 25 mergers and acquisitions in the calendar year. This included seven new partner firms (one of which was its 67th partner firm, the New York–based Seasons of Advice, which came on board in September) and 18 mergers on behalf of partner firms. 

On Focus Financial’s fourth quarter 2020 earnings call, Adolf said he expected this pace to continue throughout the new year, and claimed the firm had approximately $1 billion on hand to invest in new deals. In 2021 so far, Focus already closed on a new partner firm, Hill Investment Group, and its Connectus Wealth Advisers business added a wealth management firm in the U.K. On the call, Adolf reported Focus Financial’s total AUM at $250 billion, and the firm hopes to reach revenues of $3.5 billion and 100 partner firms by 2025.

“2020 was a year in which the value of prudent fiduciary advice was especially apparent—the finest hour for our industry as a whole,” Adolf said during the call.

The Investment Counsel/LaFleur & Godfrey deal is expected to close in 2021’s second quarter.

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