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Cresset crests $9B in AUM with PagnatoKarp purchase

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In just over a year Cresset Asset Management has nearly tripled in size through acquisitions and, with its just-announced purchase of PagnatoKarp, it has hit $9.5 billion in AUM.

Cresset Asset Management cofounder Eric Becker, whose background is in private equity, started the RIA “to reinvent the way people experience wealth."
Cresset Asset Management cofounder Eric Becker, whose background is in private equity, started the RIA “to reinvent the way people experience wealth."

“We continue to explore aligning with firms like PagnatoKarp that share our unique vision, culture and commitment to long-term growth,” Chris Boehm, managing partner of Chicago-based Cresset, said in a statement.

The investment bank arm of Raymond James Financial Services advised PagnatoKarp on the deal, the terms of which were undisclosed. The firm has $2.3 billion in assets under management.

The newly combined teams operate in eight offices nationwide.

Founded in 2017, Cresset has been growing rapidly through acquisitions. The firm had $3.3 billion in AUM by May 2019. In May of last year Cresset announced that it bought Cypress Wealth Advisors, a San Francisco-based RIA with close to $600 million in AUM. Two months prior it acquired Evanston Advisors, an RIA based outside of Chicago with $500 million in AUM.

The rest of the firm’s growth in the past year has been organic, according to a company spokesman.

Co-founders Eric Becker and Avy Stein, who have backgrounds in private equity, started the RIA “to reinvent the way people experience wealth by delivering comprehensive, personalized services they felt were missing in the wealth management industry,” according to a statement by the firm.

PagnatoKarp's CEO Paul Pagnato says he founded his firm during the 2008-09 financial crisis “in reaction to the lack of transparency in the industry."
PagnatoKarp's CEO Paul Pagnato says he founded his firm during the 2008-09 financial crisis “in reaction to the lack of transparency in the industry."

Paul Pagnato, CEO and founder of Reston, Virginia-based PagnatoKarp, says he founded his firm during the 2008-09 financial crisis “in reaction to the lack of transparency in the industry. Our desire was to create a new paradigm for wealth management by democratizing the family office.”

Both firms are employee-owned. “As a firm founded by clients, for clients, we are proud to partner with the team at PagnatoKarp, as they share our cultural values of access and transparency, as well as our intense focus on client success,” Becker said in the statement.

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