Sequoia Financial Group has entered into an agreement to acquire Zeke Capital Advisors, a multifamily office with around $5 billion in ultra-high-net-worth assets, investment management chops and a location on the East Coast.
The deal, expected to close at the end of the month, will bring Sequoia to more than $15 billion in client assets.
Located in Berwyn, Pa., Zeke has been led for more than 15 years by veteran fund manager Edward Antoian. He founded the firm in 2008, following 26 years as partner at Chartwell Investment Partners and 12 as a portfolio manager for Delaware Investments. President Gee Smith joined as a partner in 2013, after more than 12 years with Goldman Sachs Trust Company, including seven as its CEO.
According to the firm’s latest SEC filing (in August 2022), Zeke oversees nearly $5 billion in assets for around 100 UHNW clients and more than $1.2 billion held in pooled investment vehicles. The acquisition will effectively double both the assets and number of client households under Sequoia’s family office practice, while expanding investment options for the entire firm.
“Zeke really has a very strong asset management team that will add breadth and depth to our asset management team,” said Sequoia CEO Tom Haught. “They'll play a critical role in our future growth together. We're both very excited about this opportunity.”
Akron, Ohio-based Sequoia provides asset management and financial planning services to clients spanning the wealth spectrum through a tiered service model. Founded by Haught in 1991, the firm currently oversees more than $10 billion in assets across all three client tiers and has more than 180 employees in offices in Ohio, Michigan, South Carolina and Florida.
“We spent that first decade trying to decide what we wanted to be when we grew up,” Haught told WealthManagement.com in October after the employee-owned firm secured its second minority investment, from Valeas Capital. The next two decades were about building his team and embarking upon a dual-track growth strategy. Over the past decade, he said Sequoia has grown its top line by 15% organically and by as much as 25% through M&A.
After a handful of smaller acquisitions, the firm received its first minority investment from Kudu Investment Management in 2020 and followed up with two large deals that added around $4 billion in assets the next year—prompting David DeVoe, the founder of M&A consulting firm DeVoe & Company, to say it was one of “about 25 major firms that will shape the RIA industry over the next five years.”
Going forward, Haught said he still expects to add about two firms a year and is eager to expand into new geographical areas, while continuing to add talent and expertise augmenting all three service areas.
The latest acquisition, for instance, will add a “highly credentialed” research team and decades of experience providing unique investment opportunities that Haught is eager to leverage.
“Zeke is really strong on alternatives,” he said. “Direct private investments, private credit, private real estate. And we’ll be able to offer those across all our existing clients on a broader investment platform.”
The firm will also continue looking into adding trustee services, he said, bolstered by the influx of new assets and Smith’s experience.
Zeke will begin operating under the Sequoia brand on March 1. Antoian and Smith will remain actively involved with the firm, according to Haught. Antoian will focus on his priority, asset management, while Smith will use the opportunity to spend more time with clients.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.