May 8, 2009

A New Market Dominator Firm Arises in Northern California

Friedman & Associates merges with Salient Wealth

The principals of Salient Wealth Management and Friedman & Associates announced the merger of their northern California wealth management firms on May 1, with Greg Friedman saying that during the 18-month process that led up to the announcement, "we found amazing synergies" between his eponymous firm and Richard Stone's Salient. "Neither firm needed" to merge, said Friedman in an interview, noting that both were continuing to grow, but since "we wanted to be a dominant player in the Bay Area," and since "we are stronger together," the combined firm expects to see "accelerated growth" beyond its current size of $600 million in AUM and about 400 clients. Friedman said this was no "merge and cut" business combination, and that in fact the merged firm "will probably be hiring."

The interim name for the Marin county firm is Salient-Friedman Wealth Management LLC. Stone is CEO, while Friedman will serve as president of the merged firm, which eventually will be renamed.

His clients will also benefit from the merger, Friedman said, both now and in the future, in the short term because "we're adding bench strength," particularly with Salient's investment management expertise, and because in the long term "succession planning got enhanced with an internal plan," meaning that the "client experience won't go away," regardless of what happens to the principals of the firm.

Those principals have known each other for 15 years, said Friedman, with their offices being only "four to five miles apart." Once they discovered their shared principles, particularly when it came to client service, Friedman said the "business aspect of the merger was seamless."

Friedman's firm won the prestigious Best-In-Tech Impact award from Schwab Institutional in 2007, and Friedman himself has been named to Investment Advisor's IA 25 list of the most influential people in and around the industry in 2008 and 2009.

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