Company Announces $250 Million PE Backing to Buy RIAs

Rise Growth Partners seeks to gain minority stakes in six to eight growth-oriented RIA firms over the next year to 18 months.

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Illustration by RIA Intel

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Rise Growth Partners, a wealth management investment company based in Austin, Texas, announced today that it had secured $250 million from Charlesbank Capital Partners, a private investment firm with offices in Boston and New York, to invest in high-growth RIAs.

Founded in 2023 by Darius Mirshahzadeh, Joe Duran, Daniel Newhall, and Mike Mirshahzadeh, Rise spent the past half a year seeking out a private equity firm to partner with before coming to a deal with Charlesbank. With the deal, Charlesbank owns a controlling stake in Rise.

In addition to executive managing partner Darius Mirshahzadeh, executive managing partner Duran and managing partners Newhall and Mike Mirshahzadeh, Rise’s management team consists of Terri Kallsen, formerly the chief operating officer of serial RIA acquirer Wealth Enhancement Group and current Rise managing and operating partner; managing partner and COO Brian Shenson; and managing partner Phil Jacobson.

Darius Mirshahzadeh said that while the company is new, its management team has collectively invested in more than 150 RIAs.

Duran formerly founded wealth management firm United Capital, which he sold to Goldman Sachs in 2019 for $750 million. Goldman sold that business last year to Creative Planning in a bid to get back to its core business clients, the ultra-wealthy.

Over the next 12 to 18 months, the company is planning to invest in six to eight high-growth RIAs managing between $1 billion and $5 billion in assets, with deal sizes ranging between $30 million and $50 million for a roughly 30 percent stake, depending on the firm. Mirshahzadeh said Rise is only looking at firms with a more than 20 percent compound annual growth rate.

Mirshahzadeh told RIA Intel that the idea of Rise came from what the founders perceived as a gap in the market.

“When you look at a lot of the consolidation that’s happened in the RIA space over the last decade, it’s been firms going in — mostly strategic and some financial sponsors — buying majority control or complete buyouts of these smaller firms,” Mirshahzadeh said. “And that’s great if you want to have a full exit or if you want to retire. But what we found was that the best-performing acquisitions at United Capital were younger advisors, who were super high growth and had a lot of runway left in their career.”

Mirshahzadeh said that many RIA owners at high-growth firms managing between $1 billion and $5 billion aren’t looking to sell their firms and retire. Many of them are motivated to grow, and they are looking for capital and the right partner to help them do it.

“Most folks that have $1 billion to $2, $3, $4, $5 billion RIAs are already doing pretty well,” he said. “But we’re looking for the ones that want to take that to $15 or $20 billion. And that just takes a specific mindset. You have to believe that it’s something you want to do, because that’s a heavy lift.”

In addition to providing capital to grow, Mirshahzadeh said he foresees Rise helping firms with three key areas: helping businesses optimize their practice and management; assessing and optimizing firms’ tech stacks, including building customized software; and deploying a dedicated team that can help firms spur organic and inorganic growth.

Mirshahzadeh said Rise can help firms do everything from traditional acquisitions to buying books of business and using their connections to bring acquisition opportunities to the firms it is invested in.

“That’s probably one of the biggest strengths we have as an organization is our ability to bring business in through recruiting and through deal origination,” he said.

The company also promises to be different from a lot of the private equity players in the space in terms of the size of the team it brings to the table.

“Most private equity businesses that are making investments tend to be smaller teams,” said Mirshahzadeh. “Ours is very different. We have a much more robust team, and the reason for that is that we were bringing much more than just capital to the table.”

So far, the company has built up a pipeline of firms representing about $200 billion in AUM that it is talking to.

“For us, the biggest thing we care about is that firms are wealth-centric, and it’s not commission-based revenue earnings,” said Mirshahzadeh. “We want people that are focused on wealth. We want to invest in fiduciaries, and we really want to invest in folks that have interesting niches in the industry.”

He said it’s also important that the firms have one integrated identity and platform.

“A lot of companies will 1099, but we want the W-2 advisors, centralized platform, people doing it under one name, and really wanting to scale that to become a national brand,” said Mirshahzadeh.

“Rise offers a unique value proposition grounded in the leadership team’s extensive industry and growth experience, its partnership culture, and its differentiated investment process,” said David Katz, managing director at Charlesbank, in a statement. “We are very much looking forward to supporting them as they help emerging, growth-minded wealth management firms reach the next level.”