Adviser Investments, a Boston-based registered investment advisor owned by private equity firm Summit Partners, is acquiring Ropes Wealth Advisors from global law firm Ropes & Gray in a deal expected to close this summer.
The combination will create an RIA with some $15 billion in client assets and more than 185 employees. Ropes will add more than 1,300 clients to Adviser’s existing roster of nearly 4,000, per recent Form ADV filings.
“While they focus on a higher-end client, they really have an ultra-high-net-worth clientele,” said Adviser CEO Mario Ramos. “They go about their business model in a very similar way, and they have more robust capabilities around estate planning, trusts, and tax planning with some very capable and experienced resources we are very excited to take advantage of.
“At the end of the day, this highly complementary transaction will help round out our business so that we can serve clients all across the wealth management spectrum,” he said.
Founded three decades ago, Adviser Investments serves families, businesses, foundations and institutions. Ropes & Gray established its wealth management unit in 2012, and the firm serves families, trusts, institutions and charitable organizations. Together, they will provide financial, tax and estate planning services, as well as investment management in public and private markets across active, passive and tactical strategies.
Previously a wholly owned subsidiary of the global law firm Ropes & Gray, Ropes Wealth Advisors will continue to work from offices in Boston's Prudential Tower and operate under its existing brand in the near term.
At the same time, co-chairs of the private client group at Ropes & Gray, Brenda Diana and Martin Hall, are joining Adviser’s investment management team as chief fiduciary officer and managing director, respectively. Diana and Hall will continue to offer legal services through a new law firm, according to Tuesday’s announcement.
“We’ll continue to be Ropes & Gray's preferred provider of wealth management services for clients and current and former partners,” said Ramos.
Terms of the transaction, expected to close by the end of July, were not disclosed, but Ramos said Adviser always considers offering equity “as a matter of philosophy.”
The deal represents Adviser’s fourth acquisition since it took a majority investment from Summit Partners at the end of 2020. The Ropes team is joining on a W-2 basis, and ownership structure will remain unchanged, said Ramos.
“We’re trying to position ourselves as a merger partner of choice for like-minded firms out there,” he said.
Adviser has a full pipeline of prospects and expects to double AUM over the next three to five years.
“But that's more of a guide,” Ramos said. “We want to make sure we're combining with the right firms. If we can't find any merger partners to get to that point, we may not do it, but we think it's doable.”