Aspiriant CEO & Founder Rob Francais.

Stanford Investment Group, an RIA in Northern California with about $850 million in assets, is merging with Aspiriant, an independent wealth manager that will include about $10 billion in client assets once the deal is completed.

This merger is the third such transaction for Los Angeles-based Aspiriant, and it is expected to close by Jan. 31.

“We have a strategy that was outlined about 15 years ago to get better as an organization by … aggregating talent in the industry and bring collective wisdom to bear on every client relationship,” said Aspiriant CEO Rob Francais, in an interview with ThinkAdvisor.

“Also, we work to drive down client costs and improve experience …, which allows us to tackle the right issues for our investors and get better through a growth strategy that we see as being values-based,” Francais explained.

Aspiriant started out with about 20 employees and under $1 billion in assets; they now have about 175 employees.

“We now can aggregate the purchasing power [of our clients] in the investments area, which is extraordinary,” said the CEO. “We also are working to get better by leveraging our scale and taking all the best of the independent-RIA space and boutique experience … while institutionalizing the entity itself.”

Like other RIAs that have merged with Aspiriant, “Stanford wants to say independent and to offer broader services and more individual solutions to its clients, as well,” he added. “We all want the same thing.”

According to Helen Dietz, CEO of Stanford Investment Group, “Joining Aspiriant will allow us to provide our clients with access to more services—tax, estate, family office and a large dedicated investment team—as well as the strength and stability that comes from being part of a nationwide firm.”

(Stanford Investment Group, which has no offial ties to the Stanford Universiy, is based in Mountain View, California.)

Growth Strategy

As firms merge with Aspiriant, there is “no sale of any business, but a 100% stock-for-stock combination,” stated Francais, a CPA.

The group plans to keep expanding its operations, with two announcements expected in the coming months—one in California and one outside of the Golden State, he says.

“Chicago, Atlanta and other places are nice goals for growth, but we will go where the best people are and where we have the right match,” explained the CEO, who got into business after work as a tax partner at Deloitte & Touche.

The wealth group has offices in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Orange County, New York, Boston, Cincinnati, Milwaukee and Minneapolis.

In February, the Glowacki Group of Los Angeles said it was merging with Aspiriant. That followed the news that San Diego-based Hokanson Associates had joined Aspiriant in late-2015.

The Glowacki Group had about $360 million in assets at the time of the deal; it was founded by Michael Glowacki in 1998, who became an owner/principal of Aspiriant.

Hokanson Associates had roughly $570 million in assets when its merger with Aspiriant was announced.