Ohio’s largest fee-only registered investment adviser (RIA) has claimed a physical foothold in the Cleveland market as it furthers a growth trajectory across the state.
Cincinnati-based Johnson Investment Counsel has acquired the financial advising firm Magis Wealth Planning of Brecksville. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Magis, a three-person firm founded by Tony Kure in 2013, may be small, but it presents a major growth platform for Johnson, said president Jason Jackman.
“We’ve been very interested in Northeast Ohio for some time,” Jackman said. “We first considered an acquisition there 10 to 15 years ago, (but) we just couldn’t get the cultural alignment right. We’ve always thought of Cleveland as a natural expansion of building out our Ohio footprint.”
Kure, a former sell-side analyst at KeyBank who left to start his own firm, said he wasn’t actively planning to sell and had been approached about doing so a couple times before the opportunity with Johnson became a reality.
“Knowing what I knew about Johnson and their reputation, they were on a short list of folks that I’d listen to what they had to say,” Kure said.
The benefit to clients is the connection to a larger organization in Johnson, which offers deepened resource and additional planning services. Johnson has a trust company, for example.
“We get to maintain our existing client base and think this is a better path going forward,” Kure said. “With the advantages of scale and the way they operate, this just made a lot of sense.”
Kure and his partner, Joe Radigan, both are now directors of the Northeast Ohio market for Johnson.
As the largest fee-only RIA in Ohio — with $9.1 billion in assets under management, according to InvestmentNews, which also makes it the 17th-largest RIA of its type in the country — Johnson was almost conspicuous by its absence here. The firm, with 114 employees and clients in 46 states, has some business here, but has never had a physical platform in the Northeast Ohio market.
A 2009 acquisition added the firm’s offices in Dayton and Columbus.
“Not having a presence there with our desire to serve the whole state doesn’t make a lot of sense,” Jackman said, calling the deal in Cleveland a “significant milestone” for the company.
Growing the business in this market is an obvious goal, though Jackman hasn’t outlined any specific targets for Kure’s team yet.
“We’re going to see what kind of momentum we gain from this,” he said. “We have a sense of what the growth trajectory has been to this point, and we think this will catalyze some of this growth a bit. We’re looking forward to getting to know the market on the ground.”
Kure said he feels this market is “fertile” ground to grow on, particularly with the affiliation with Johnson.
“As competitors in the Cleveland market prior to being acquired, we had never run into them,” Kure said. “They’ve had clients, just no physical presence. So that’s why it’s a hand-in-glove fit for them because now they have feet on the ground in Cleveland.”