ON THE MOVE-Focus Financial boosts clients assets by $450 mln

Tue Jan 22, 2013 4:51pm EST

Jan 22 (Reuters) - Focus Financial Partners LLC, a firm that has expanded by acquiring independent advisers and teams across the United States, said on Tuesday it has boosted its client asset base by roughly $450 million through new hires and acquisitions.

The largest portion of those new assets came from the addition of Pittsburgh-based independent firm H.L. Zeve Associates, which merged with one of Focus' existing partner firms, JFS Wealth Advisors.

"There are real efficiencies to clients that could be gained by combining the two organizations," said H.L. Zeve president, Steve Lee, in an interview on Tuesday. "It enhances the suite of services that we can offer to our clients... to round out our capabilities."

New York-based Focus, which has about $60 billion in total client assets, provides services such as technology support and legal advice to independent adviser teams that join as partnering firms. While a part of the broader Focus network, the individual teams maintain their autonomy and choose their own third-party custodian for their clients' securities.

H.L. Zeve, founded by veteran adviser Harvey Zeve, has $325 million in client assets under management. The addition of Zeve's team brings JFS' total client asset count to more than $1.2 billion.

JFS, founded in 1986 by Bob Jazwinski, was an early Focus partner. Jazwinski said part of his decision to join Focus was to benefit from the collaborative nature of working with other independent firms.

"(Focus) is a great resource to brainstorm on issues and best practices for delivering better client services," he said.

OTHER ADDITIONS TO FOCUS

Also on the move, veteran adviser Haley Rockwell joined existing Focus partner firm LLBH Private Wealth Management, based in Westport, Connecticut. Rockwell, who managed $110 million in client assets at Greenwich, Connecticut-based firm Chronogram, joined LLBH as a managing director.

Focus firm CapGroup Advisors, a Richmond, Virginia-based wealth manager with more than $1 billion in assets, hired financial adviser Jeremy Kuhlen as a managing director. Kuhlen previously co-founded Mentor Wealth Management, a Richmond-based firm with roughly $35 million in assets.

Buckingham Family of Financial Services hired veteran adviser Dan Solin, who joined Buckingham's asset management unit as a wealth adviser. Solin was previously senior vice president at Index Fund Advisors, an Irvine, California-based independent advisory firm. In his new role, Solin will also be a director of investor advocacy.