Focus Financial Announces Massive RIA Merger

The combined firm will manage more than $50 billion, making it one of the largest RIAs.


Illustration by RIA

Two of Focus Financial Partners’ largest partner firms, Buckingham Strategic Wealth and The Colony Group, are combining, according to the company.

New York–based Focus announced the merger on Monday at its semi-annual partners meeting in a deal that would combine the two companies’ nearly 1,200 employees across more than 90 office locations.

The two companies are in advanced discussions, with a definitive agreement subject to “customary closing conditions.” Once the deal has been finalized, the combined firm will manage more than $50 billion, according to Colony and Buckingham’s most recent Forms ADV and company spokeswoman Caitlin Quain.

According to a statement put out by the company, Adam Birenbaum, the current chairman and CEO of Buckingham, will serve as the merged company’s new CEO, and Michael Nathanson, the current CEO of Colony and Focus, will act only as Focus CEO moving forward.

Buckingham’s sister company, Buckingham Strategic Partners, will continue operating under Birenbaum, with the goal of expanding its turnkey asset management platform.

“This transaction will create an RIA of truly substantial scale and marks a milestone moment in the history of our industry,” Nathanson said in a statement. “The combined firm’s scale underscores and accelerates the ongoing evolution we are seeing in the wealth management space to cultivate better opportunities for clients and advisors and to offer them outstanding capabilities and services. The decision to unify these two industry-leading firms is an exciting one, and we cannot wait to see what Colony and Buckingham will accomplish when they join forces.”

Consolidation within the RIA space is an ongoing trend. According to a 2023 report by Advisor Growth Strategies, in 2011, there were only 10 RIAs with at least $10 billion in assets under management; in 2023, that number had ballooned to 258 firms.

“This is an exciting opportunity to bring together complementary services and capabilities that will further enhance our common interest to serve clients better,” Zinovy Iosovich, president and chief services officer at Colony, said in a statement. “We are thrilled to be joining forces with the Buckingham team and to take this next step in our journey of collaboration to build an industry-leading, transformational business.”

“There are occasions in an organization’s journey that are true landmark moments,” Birenbaum said in a statement. “It is a dream come true for Buckingham to be able to take part in exactly that kind of transformational opportunity. I am honored by the trust and faith placed in me to lead such an incredible firm. We have the distinct privilege and mandate to build something truly special, a firm that becomes a destination for exceptional talent in our industry and an advisor and client experience that is phenomenal.”

Related Articles