Fourteen years after getting into the wealth management business, Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo is getting out. In a move it suggested was aimed at helping Mintz Levin Financial Advisors achieve its ambitions to grow, the Boston-based Am Law 200 firm said it is selling the affiliate to The Colony Group—one of some two dozen wealth management firms owned by Focus Financial Partners—for an undisclosed sum. “MLFA was looking to both expand the services it offers and to ensure long-term continuity for its clients,” Mintz Levin managing member Robert Bodian said in a statement provided to The Am Law Daily Monday by a firm spokeswoman. “Merging with The Colony Group provided the opportunity to accomplish both of those goals. The firm was supportive of the transaction, and we wish MLFA continued success.” The unit being acquired by Colony, which was founded by Robert Glovsky, Cary Geller, and the firm in 1998, managed $1.04 billion in assets for nearly 375 clients and employed 17 people as of a November filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The combined entity, which will operate under the Colony name and move into its Boston headquarters, has approximately $2.5 billion in client assets under management, according to the May 30 joint press release announcing the deal. Most of Mintz Levin Financial’s clients are high-net-worth individuals with between $1 million and $30 million in assets, according to the release. In conjunction with the sale, Glovsky—the son of Mintz Levin name partner William Glovsky—and Geller are cutting their ties to the law firm and joining Colony’s executive management team. Neither returned requests for comment Monday, but in an interview with Investment News, Glovsky said the idea of combining operations with Colony, where he said he has had friends for 15 years, was attractive in part because it offered Mintz Levin Financial employees the chance to become partners, a status Glovsky and Geller will both take. As of now, U.S. ethics rules in all jurisdictions outside of Washington, D.C., bar law firm employees who aren’t lawyers from taking equity stakes in law firms. Financial advisory affiliates are common among Boston-based law firms. The trend dates to the nineteenth century, when merchants heading to sea would entrust lawyers with overseeing their financial affairs, according to a 2010 Boston Globe article. Boston-area firms have also historically taken advantage of a special state charter that allows them to provide trust services and manage money without registering with the SEC, according to legal consultant Kent Zimmermann of the Zeughauser Group.
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