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Industry Spotlight > Mergers and Acquisitions

Two Impact Investing RIAs to Merge

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What You Need to Know

  • Rachel Robasciotti and Maya Philipson will join Abacus Wealth as director of advocacy engagement and strategic advisor, respectively.
  • At the same time, they will continue to run R&P’s sister investment firm, Adasina Social Capital.
  • The firms will operate under the Abacus name as part of the deal, which adds $130 million in assets to the $3.8 billion RIA.

Santa Monica, California-based Abacus Wealth Partners, which manages $3.8 billion in client assets, is merging with San Francisco-based, social justice-aligned investment firm Robasciotti & Philipson.

The merged RIAs will now operate under the Abacus name as part of the transaction, which adds 115 households representing $130 million in assets to Abacus. Also, Rachel Robasciotti and Maya Philipson will serve on the Abacus team as director of advocacy engagement and strategic advisor, respectively. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Robasciotti (who appears in the above photo) founded the firm in Northern California to help financial advisors better represent and address the unique needs of a diverse client base  — especially those most impacted by social inequities.

She also is a co-founder of the impact investing platform Return on Investment & Social Equity, or RISE, which helped form the Force the Issue project in September 2019 to end mandatory arbitration for sexual harassment.

R&P is majority-owned and operated by women, people of color and members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Separate from their roles at Abacus, Robasciotti and Philipson will continue to run R&P’s sister investment firm, Adasina Social Capital, which launched in 2020 to serve as a bridge between financial markets and racial, gender, economic and climate justice movements. The Adasina Social Justice All Cap Global ETF (JSTC) began trading in December.

“At its very core, Abacus is a team of individuals who are deeply aligned with our values and this influence is apparent throughout their entire approach to investment management and financial planning,” according to Philipson.

“This transition feels so natural to us and will be for our clients as well,” she said in a statement.

More Abacus, R&P Details

Abacus began doing impact investing work in the early 1990s. It says its investment team uses an evidence-based approach that “proves socially responsible investing earns the same or better returns than traditional investing.”

Today, 100% of Abacus portfolios contain investments aligned with each client’s environmental, social, and governance (ESG) values, according to the firm.

In January, Brent Kessel, co-founder and CEO of Abacus, co-authored the Due Diligence 2.0 Commitment alongside Robasciotti, urging members of the asset management industry to reform traditional due-diligence and risk-assessment frameworks that have led to a system in which white, male asset managers control 98.7% of the investment industry’s $69 trillion in assets under management, Abacus noted.

“Several of our female partners were in contact with R&P throughout the years through our Women’s Initiative and were aware of their highly respected work with investors who did not resemble the typical client profiles you see in our industry,” Kessel told ThinkAdvisor.

“I finally met Rachel in person at an impact investing conference in February 2020, and we shared tremendous synergy between the mission at R&P and the long-term vision for Abacus,” he said.

The partnership between the firms “enables us to leverage our platform and resources to further advance our clients’ social justice-driven investment strategies,” he said in the announcement.

 

 

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