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Autum Wind Asset Management founder Neal Falkenberry and Wealth Management Solutions founder Tanu Happonen
Autum Wind Asset Management founder Neal Falkenberry (left) and Wealth Management Solutions founder Tanu Happonen

Modern Wealth Adds $570M AUM In Two Deals

The acquisitions of Wealth Management Solutions and Autumn Wind Asset Management represent Modern Wealth’s seventh and eighth transactions and bring its assets to over $3.7 billion.

Modern Wealth Management, a private equity-backed registered investment advisory launched last year by former United Capital executives, has acquired Philadelphia-based Wealth Management Solutions and Reston, Va.-based Autumn Wind Asset Management, bringing the firm’s assets to over $3.7 billion.

Wealth Management Solutions, which has more than $400 million AUM and 350 clients, was founded in 2015 by Tanu Happonen.

Autumn Wind, a Washington, D.C.-area RIA with more than $170 million AUM, was founded in 2000 by Neal Falkenberry. The firm serves about 43 high-net-worth clients.

Jason Gordo, co-founder and president of Modern Wealth, said both firms were seeking tax and estate planning services that they could add to their businesses. Modern Wealth has been building out specializations in financial planning, tax planning and preparation, personal banking and estate planning via its acquisitions.

The two firms were also looking to partner with a company that could accelerate their organic growth, executives said. In August, Modern Wealth built a lead-generating “growth hub” in Kansas City. The firm hires professionals right out of college to learn the business from the ground up, and deliver “warm” leads to Modern’s advisors.

They’re not cold-calling, the firm said. Rather, they leverage a radio program and podcast produced by the RIA’s first acquisition, Barber Financial, which has been successful in attracting new business to the firm. They also use digital channels, organic search and other strategies to reach prospects. About a dozen people work in the hub. 

“We know the key to driving organic growth is you have to have a war chest, in other words, the ability to invest in channels,” Gordo said. “You have to be first to the opportunity. That's why we have this team. And then you have to have a real process of client experience and delivery that's consistent and repeatable across the firm so that we have the most successful outcome opportunity possible.”

Modern Wealth was founded a year ago by Gordo and co-CEOs Gary Roth and Mike Capelle, who worked together at United Capital, which was acquired by Goldman Sachs in 2019. They hope to build a national full-service firm rapidly, through both acquisition and organic growth programs like the hub in Kansas City. Advisors come under one ADV, are W2 employees and share the Modern Wealth brand. The firm uses Charles Schwab and Fidelity for custody.

Crestview, a private equity firm, made a $200 million investment in Modern Wealth. The firm’s first acquisition of Barber Financial gave Modern Wealth the infrastructure, technology and talent they needed to launch, executives said. Barber is comprised of Barber Financial Group, an RIA led by CEO and founder Dean Barber; Osiwala Financial Group, a subsidiary led by President Ken Osiwala; and Financial Security, an acquired practice led by President Bud Kasper. 

Gordo says the firm will acquire somewhere around 30 to 40 offices in total over the next several years. The firm’s first eight acquisitions have been primarily in the Midwest and East Coast, but they expect to soon announce some deals on the West Coast.

TAGS: Industry
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