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Captrust Buys $2.3B AUM Southern Wealth Management

The Texas-based firm doubles Captrust’s tax division while strengthening ultra-high-net-worth and family office services.

Raleigh, N.C.–based Captrust Financial Advisors has picked up a firm with $2.3 billion in client assets, more than 60 employees and offices in San Antonio, Dallas and Midland, Texas, as well as New Orleans.

Southern Wealth Management was founded in 2005 and is led by Managing Partner Dick Jones, who previously worked at Ernst & Young with six other founding partners. The firm provides family office services for around 250 ultra-wealthy families, more than a dozen charities and fewer than 10 corporations, per to the firm’s most recent Form ADV filing.

In addition to financial and estate planning, SWM also offers business succession planning and valuation, tax preparation, portfolio design and management, life insurance portfolio design and management, and charitable planning and administration.

“We have enjoyed longstanding multigenerational relationships with families,” Jones said in a statement Wednesday. “In the same vein, we saw longevity and growth for our firm by joining Captrust. Our team looks forward to expanding our network and resources for the benefit of our clients and for our people.”

“It's a relatively young team of partners, and I think they were at the point where they needed to plug into some scale,” said Rush Benton, Captrust’s senior director of strategic growth. “In addition to offloading day-to-day business management, their investment capabilities are now much more improved, and the same with technology, etcetera.”

Benton believes there is a “misperception” in the industry that firms at between $2 billion and $4 billion in assets are fully scaled—but said that’s likely a matter of perspective.

“The larger you get, I think the more you actually realize what scale looks like,” he said, pointing out that Captrust has teams of more than 50 devoted to marketing and technology, including a 12-person team of application developers.

“No firm with $2 or $3 billion has that,” he said. “I believe there is a race to scale in the industry and larger platforms like Captrust are very attractive to those larger, multi-billion-dollar firms. This is not just about selling and getting some liquidity and moving on, it really is about where the industry's going.”

The acquisition adds 63 employees and more than doubles Captrust’s existing tax practice, adding consulting and compliance expertise around income, estate, and gift taxes.

“They’re the trusted advisor, very broadly speaking, to some very wealthy families,” said Benton, also pointing to the firm’s insurance, money management and bookkeeping capabilities. He noted that Captrust has made several acquisitions with similar skillsets over the last few years, including firms in Phoenix, Boston and New Orleans. One in San Antonio provided Captrust with a CIO devoted to family office services, he added.

“That's some real expertise that is now available across the board to all these families around the country,” he said. “So, we'll continue to make investments like that.”

It's the fifth acquisition Captrust has announced this year, and the third in Texas, following the additions of $5.8 billion Monroe Vos in Houston and $710 million Omega Wealth Partners in Fort Worth. Collectively, the firm has added close to $10 billion in client assets to its platform in 2023 through acquisitions.

Founded in 1997, Captust began an aggressive acquisitions strategy in 2006 and has since completed 67 deals. Three years ago, the firm announced it sold a $25% stake to private equity firm GTCR—based on a valuation of $1.25 billion—after completing 40 transactions and amassing around $390 billion in assets.

Captrust now oversees more than $715 billion in client assets across more than 1,300 financial professionals and 75 locations nationwide.

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