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Kovitz Adds $3.5B Firm, Creative Planning Picks Up $1.8B in AUM

Focus "hub” firm Kovitz is buying a partner affiliate in Chicago, while Creative Planning scoops up a Texas team.

Strategic Wealth Partners to Join Kovitz Investment Group  

Kovitz Investment Group Partners, one of a handful of “hub” firms into which Focus Financial is moving to consolidate the remaining 80-plus partners in its network, has taken another step in that direction. 

Kovitz agreed to buy Strategic Wealth Partners Group, a Focus firm an hour north of its Chicago headquarters in Deerfield, Ill., managing $3.5 billion in client assets. The deal, expected to close this quarter, will bring Kovitz to more than $14.5 billion in assets.  

“As we evaluated joining forces with Kovitz and becoming an early participant in the Focus hub strategy, we knew it would only work if it was better for our clients, our firm, and our trusted business partners,” Strategic Wealth co-founder Neal Prince shared in a statement. “We have known the Kovitz team on both a personal and professional level for many years.” 

The Strategic team provides financial planning, investment management and retirement plan services to more than 1,100 clients, including 586 ultra-wealthy households with $3.18 billion under management. Kovitz reported $10.6 billion under management on April 1, across 3,704 households and 321 institutional investors.  

“This powerful union underscores our commitment to, and role in, working with firms dedicated to serving clients to the absolute best of their ability," said Focus President Michael Nathanson. “I look forward to seeing how it will unlock even greater opportunities and capabilities for everyone involved.”     

Strategic Wealth Partners will continue doing business under current branding immediately following the deal’s closing; terms were not disclosed.  

Creative Planning Buys Central Texas Firm Managing $1.8B 

Creative Planning, the $300 billion, Kansas City–based RIA owned by founder and CEO Peter Mallouk, has picked up an 18-person Texas firm managing almost $1.8 billion in its first acquisition of the year.  

With offices in Austin and nearby Round Rock, Texas, ML&R Wealth Management advises on an additional $409.5 million for a client roster that included 676 households and 15 institutions in early March. The firm provides investment management along with portfolio, pension and retirement plan consultation.  

"Joining forces with Creative Planning brings a comprehensive view of finances along with cutting edge technology and services,” ML&R Lead Parter Stuart V. Smith shared in a statement. “We're thrilled to offer these services to the more than 3,000 client accounts that we manage, as well as our expertise and services into Creative Planning's broader ecosystem." 

"They've built a strong reputation as thought leaders as well as presence in the Central Texas community, constantly engaging with businesses and individuals with a breadth of insights and solutions to plan for a financially sound future,” added Mallouk. 

The acquisition, which closed April 1, brings Creative Planning closer to its goal of having advisory talent in “every major metropolitan market.” With locations in all 50 states and 90 countries, the sprawling firm oversees more than $300 billion and has done several large deals in recent months, including the purchase of Mesirow’s retirement services business and the former United Capital from Goldman Sachs.  

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