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Focus Financial Acquires U.K. Wealth Manager

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Focus Financial Partners has agreed to acquire Manchester, England-based Greystone Financial Services Ltd., making the U.K. wealth management firm the 15th “partner firm” in the Focus Financial stable, where the RIA firms manage $26 billion in client assets. Greystone advises on some $1.6 billion in assets from about 5,000 clients; the acquisition is expected to close April 1.

While declining to provide specifics on the purchase price or multiples involved in the acquisition other than to say that valuation was based on “free and recurring cash flows,” along with other metrics, Rudy Adolf, Focus Financial’s founder and CEO, said Greystone met its goal of “investing in successful wealth management entrepreneurs” who provide “objective financial advice on a broad basis,” and that Greystone’s clients included affluent individuals and institutions like pension plans, “with a certain niche in the arts and entertainment segment.” Moreover, said Adolf, as part of its due diligence process, Focus Financial met with Greystone clients and found that they were looking for the same traits in their wealth managers as did U.S. clients–trust, objectivity, and transparency. Adolf said the “No. 1 priority” of Focus Financial, which he characterized as “very profitable,” would continue to be working with its 14 existing U.S. firms, though he wouldn’t rule out additional acquisitions in Europe or the U.K., where the SEC equivalent, the Financial Services Authority, has launched “major initiatives,” he said, designed to bring the provision of financial advice in the country closer to what would be defined in the U.S. as a fiduciary standard.