Rehmann LLC’s acquisition of an Ohio wealth management company is only a part of the Saginaw, Mich., accounting and consulting firm’s strategy to rapidly expand its wealth management arm.

In addition to Rehmann’s purchase Tuesday of Cleveland-based Dawson Wealth Management, Rehmann plans to announce two more acquisitions in Ohio in the next two to three weeks as it looks to establish a presence in the state, said Fred J. Schaard, the president of Rehmann Financial.

The unit has been looking to expand its presence in the Midwest for the past three years, he said. It has been providing wealth management services to two certified public accounting firms in Chicago and, because of its proximity, Schaard said Ohio was the next logical step.

“We are really starting to put the cart before the horse,” he said. “We used to lead with our accounting services and then offer wealth management, and now we are going to go into Ohio and proceed in the opposite direction.”

Rehmann Financial also plans to add teams of advisors from wirehouses in Florida. Its parent company has a CPA office in Fort Myers. “We expect three solid teams to be coming on board from wirehouses in the next three to four months with sizeable books of business,” Schaard said. “Then we can look to add from there. We expect to have a sizeable presence on the east side of Florida in terms of wealth management within the next few years.”

Schaard, who has worked for Rehmann for 10 years and became a member of its board of directors four years ago, said the company is also in discussions with a “large advisor” in Pittsburgh.

Analysts said that it is a good time to acquire because prices have rapidly declined in the past two years and independent wealth managers are more apt to sell. Schaard said Rehmann realized internally it had the necessary infrastructure for growth.

“We saw an opportunity in certain markets and we want to take advantage of those opportunities,” he said.

The acquisition of Dawson, which had $330 million in assets under management, increased Rehmann Financial’s asset base to $1.38 billion. Schaard said the two other Ohio acquisitions combined will add about $300 million in assets.

He said he expects the company will continue to add assets, but would not specify any goals for growth.


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