Classic Capital, based in Short Hills, NJ, has merged with Buckingham Asset Management, a Focus Financial partner firm headquartered in St Louis. The merger brings Buckingham additional scale and increases its total locations to eight.
Founded by Jay Leonard in 1989, Classic Capital provides investment management and financial planning services to individuals, families and institutional retirement plans. In 2013, Leonard signed a Focus Successions® agreement with Buckingham to put in place a business continuity plan for his clients. Two years later, the parties recognised the complementary nature of the businesses, and decided that Classic Capital would formally merge with Buckingham as part of Leonard’s retirement and client transition plan. While Leonard will continue managing his clients’ assets, the partnership with Buckingham affords him the peace of mind in knowing that his clients are protected for the future.
Classic Capital will assume the Buckingham name, and two associates will join the Buckingham team as employees based in Short Hills, New Jersey.
“Buckingham’s client-centric approach and evidence-based investment philosophy made joining them a natural fit. We share a common belief in doing the right thing and acting in clients’ best interests at all times,” says Jay Leonard, Founder and Principal of Classic Capital. “With Focus’ capital backing and strategic support, the aligned efforts will allow us deliver deeper, more comprehensive solutions to our clients.”
The patent-pending Focus Successions® Program offers advisors with the ability to provide continuity of service to their clients should they wish to retire or in the event of an unplanned life circumstance. This is achieved by matching advisors with the existing Focus partner firm that offers the most similar business model including client-service, investment philosophy and culture. Advisors participating in the program choose if and/or when to activate the succession plan, and if so, agree in advance to the terms under which a transition would occur. Launched in 2013, this program currently has more than 50 firms signed aggregating over $5 billion in client assets.
“Jay Leonard and the team have built a wonderful firm that was the perfect cultural, ideological and service-centered fit for us,” says Adam Birenbaum, CEO of Buckingham Asset Management. “This transaction continues our strategic effort to have geographically diverse locations and bolsters our resources and our ability to serve clients around the country.”
“Buckingham’s rapid growth has been impressive since joining Focus, and we remain keenly focused on supporting our partners’ strategic growth aspirations,” says Rudy Adolf, Founder and CEO of Focus Financial Partners. “The merger reinforces Buckingham’s commitment to growth and pursuit of excellence across the country.”