Cleveland-based RIA aggregator MAI Capital Management has partnered with Intersect Capital, a San Ramon, Calif.–based wealth management firm overseeing approximately $1.3 billion in assets for business owners, entrepreneurs, athletes and entertainers.
MAI got its start in the 1970s as an affiliate of International Management Group, which revolutionized the field of sports management in the mid-1960s with a golfer named Arnold Palmer. The firm has expanded its focus over the years to include corporate executives and wealthy families but has maintained a dedicated division focused on serving athletes and other entertainers, building out a specialized team through organic growth and targeted acquisitions.
Following the addition of Intersect and founder Joe McLean, however, any future growth in that vertical is likely to depend on organic strategies, according to Steve Trax, head of MAI’s sports and entertainment arm.
“With the addition of Joe’s team, I think we’ve got a really great foundation there and one that we can grow from," Trax said. "I don’t see us being extremely aggressive on the inorganic addition side to the sports business going forward.”
After bringing on Trax and MTX Wealth Management in 2019, a majority investment from financial services distribution platform Galway Holdings enabled a series of acquisitions beginning in 2021, including Queens Oak Advisors in Charlotte, N.C., Geier Asset Management in Baltimore and Monarch Business and Wealth Management in New York City. With specialties around the sports and entertainment industries, all joined MAI’s dedicated division.
“A handful of us are former college athletes, and some pro athletes,” said Trax. “And I think that dynamic really helps us to understand how to service that particular type of client appropriately. It’s a very comprehensive, family office approach where we’re involved in just about every aspect of their financial lives.”
McLean founded Intersect with the express goal of delivering personalized solutions to a select group of high-net-worth professional athletes, entrepreneurs and entertainers. He and his team of about a dozen professionals will adopt the MAI branding as part of the deal.
“Joe’s team adds depth and breadth to our existing sports and entertainment platform,” said Trax. “He and his clients have experience with investments and investment structures that I think are somewhat unique to the West Coast. I think he brings in some fresh ideas and great opportunities for our firm as a whole and our sports vertical, for sure.”
“Our clients have dedicated their lives to achieving generational success for themselves and their families,” said McLean. “MAI’s recent partnership with Galway allows us to forge a new path forward while elevating our capabilities to meet the needs of our clients delivering an innovative range of solutions to meet and exceed the high standards of each client we serve."
MIA and Intersect became acquainted through the Galway acquisition, which will enable continued M&A activity across MAI’s other divisions.
“I think we’ve got a nice pipeline of firms that our platform resonates with,” said Trax. “As a firm, we’re looking to strategically and thoughtfully add maybe five to six firms a year, if it makes sense to do that.”
He’s satisfied with the current configuration of his own department, however. “I think we have a great group as it stands today,” Trax said. “And the potential for growth there is, from an inorganic perspective, significant, given our depth of experience and platform and the way we take care of our clients.”
Led by Managing Partner Rick Buoncore, MAI currently has 17 additional offices nationwide, with more than $13 billion in assets under management.