It was about 18 months ago that the principals at Denver-based Capital Investment Counsel were faced with a conundrum about the future of their wealth management firm.
Founded in 1990 by refugees from Shearson Lehman who had “seen the RIA light,” in the words of one of those principals, Jason Rosener, CIC had been acquired by Compass Bank (in 2007) which was itself acquired six months later by the Spanish-based bank BBVA. As a subsidiary of the bank, the RIA had grown into a large wealth management firm with AUM of $2 billion and an average client household with $1.3 million in investable assets. Despite the growth, being part of 50,000-employee BBVA was not entirely pleasant, Rosener recalled in an interview Wednesday, citing issues with “getting on the budget,” for instance.
Then BBVA said it was getting out of the wealth management business.
So CIC’s principals spoke with a “half dozen” potential suitors before finding their match in United Capital, which announced today that 23 former CIC employees, including the four principals, had agreed to become employees of United Capital, the largest-ever onboarding by the advisor partnership firm.
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Why United Capital? “This was the only firm that came to us with a clear vision,” Rosener said, not only for what United Capital could “do for us, but what we could do for United Capital.
“We were looking for a new partner with aligned interests,” which Rosener said they found in United Capital.
“Our situation was unique, doesn’t everybody say that?” joked Rosener. “We weren’t looking for a payday or a way out,” but rather wanted to join “a single RIA offering clients objective guidance on an open-architecture platform to help us grow and serve our clients.” United Capital, he says, was “the only firm that came to us saying this is how both of us will be successful.”
Editor’s Note: A BBVA spokesperson commented on this story: BBVA Compass never exited or ever desired to exit the wealth management segment. BBVA Compass is committed to serving all segments in its communities, including wealth. We remain fully committed to all our communities and customers. Any statement to the contrary is simply incorrect.
Rosener said he and the other CIC principals “view ourselves as more of a wealth management firm,” while seeing United Capital as “more of a life management firm,” citing UC tools like its Guidebook and Honest Conversations, but with the shared commitment to “always do right by the client.” Moreover, the principals were attracted to United Capital’s support to continue its goal “to grow reasonably,” and while CIC had some partnerships, like with Schwab, United Capital had more on both the custodial side and on the technology side.