GLENVIEW, IL (Nov. 30, 2015) — Coyle Financial Counsel (www.coylefinancial.com), a successful independent registered investment advisory (RIA) firm, today announced a major step in its plan to provide completely integrated wealth management services by merging with Wheaton Wealth Partners. The deal brings Coyle’s current AUA to about $860M, adds to its Chicago-area footprint, and extends Coyle’s geographic presence with a fulltime office in Naples, FL.
Coyle Financial Counsel, founded in 1972 by Edward Coyle, will continue to be the business name for the combined companies.
With some $740M in AUA and 15 employees, Coyle Financial Counsel is joining with Wheaton Wealth Partners, based in Wheaton, IL, and Naples, FL. The latter firm, started in 2010, has some $120M in AUA and five employees.
The merged firm will give clients access to a greater breadth of knowledge and professional expertise to better serve their client families. The merger also brings a deeper level of experience, with the principals having a combined 135-plus years as wealth advisors.
“Coyle Financial Counsel’s merger with Wheaton Wealth Partners strengthens our ability to deliver targeted, comprehensive, integrated and collaborative services to our multi-generational families,” said Gary Klaben, Coyle CEO. “As we continue to pursue our business growth strategy, we look for RIA firms that align with our client-centric service philosophy. Wheaton is an excellent fit — nationally, structurally and culturally. We are excited to welcome Wheaton’s team and their clients into the merged Coyle family.”
Robert K. O’Dell, Wheaton’s co-founder, noted, “Our firm’s investment, core philosophies and office technologies are well aligned with Coyle’s, making this a strong partnership and logical match. Before launching Wheaton five years ago, I met Gary Klaben, who introduced me to the value of “mind map” diagrams for visually organizing client information and aiding memory, visual thinking and problem-solving. At Wheaton, as at Coyle, mind maps play a key role in helping clients make informed decisions. Now, with the Coyle team of fiduciaries, we will continue to act in our clients’ best interest at all times.”
The transition will be made seamless, with no offices closing and all employees remaining in place. Joining forces will enable the merged companies to focus on what each does best, which is advising and counseling clients throughout their financial lives. In the combined company, Coyle’s Gary Klaben and Kevin Coyle retain their roles as Managing Directors, and Klaben continues as CEO. Wheaton’s John R. Dragstrem takes up the duty of COO/CFO. Wheaton’s John G. Finley assumes the role of CIO.
“Central to a successful merger are a shared investment philosophy, a true passion for helping families grow and simplify their wealth, and a trustworthy adherence to the highest standards of client service,” said Klaben. “The expanded Coyle team will leverage the complementary skills of each company principal.” Klaben, Kevin Coyle and Robert (Rob) O’Dell will concentrate on new business development and expanded client services. Other team members will focus on what each does best, to enhance operational efficiencies in key areas such as technology, compliance and client contacts.
“Coyle Financial Counsel brings decades of successful experience to the table in terms of delivering wealth management services,” Kevin Coyle noted. “That said, this merger is not about getting bigger. It’s about getting even better. Families continue to grow and change in a dynamic environment. They must meet new challenges and solve new problems. To help them, wealth management firms also must grow and change, by ensuring their employees have the best-in-class skills and tools necessary to mentor families successfully.”
Heather M. Coulter, a Wheaton co-founder, will continue at Coyle to be a principal client contact: “Increasingly, we are helping younger families with their more complex business affairs and extended-family issues. Many women, whether married or single, want to understand and take more direct control over their financial lives. As a working mother myself, who can easily empathize with them, I will have the opportunity at Coyle to meet and help address their unique and ever-evolving challenges.”
Important to a successful merger is the desire by both parties to seek both an increased growth trajectory and an excellent succession planning solution. John R. Dragstrem, in his new Coyle role of COO/CFO, said, “Frequently when an investment advisory firm’s founder retires, the company closes its doors. That definitely is not the case at Coyle, now in its 43rd year of operation and still growing. Coyle’s second-generation management team has 90-plus years of wealth management expertise. Wheaton’s management team, somewhat younger, has about 45 years. Joining forces allows us simultaneously to expand our client-service offerings and offer a transitional track to secure the long-term future of our combined business.”
Rob O’Dell said, “The union of Coyle and Wheaton is a great match-up — a natural progression for business growth and client service. Now, with offices in both Illinois and Florida, Coyle Financial Counsel has expanded its geographic footprint, optimizing its opportunities. In Naples, Florida, where many families are moving for weather and tax reasons, the city is now America’s sixth-fastest-growing area, and first by wealth per capita. So we see great opportunities for business development.”
Gary Klaben noted, “Having merged, we want every action, activity, process and system geared to deliver deep support to our clients. We also want our outside advisors, vendors and investment custodians aligned philosophically with us and adhering to the highest service standards.”
“The Coyle legacy is built on helping families understand their situation, manage their affairs, and get on with their lives,” said Kevin Coyle. “Life is always dynamic, never static. Our mission is to mentor families, help them solve complex issues, and keep moving ahead. Within Coyle, that means keeping our tool kit sharp, nurturing new people, and breeding new leaders. My father’s business credo: ‘If one does the right things, good things happen.’”
The merger deal officially closes today, Nov. 30, 2015.
Coyle Financial Counsel will continue to deploy a selective M&A strategy that considers only the best potential M&A partners. The company only pursues opportunities that fit its operating model of helping families grow and simplify their wealth.
Coyle’s continuing mission: “Simplifying the Complex, Growing with Purpose.”
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Members of the newly combined Coyle Financial Counsel team:
Gary Klaben – A Managing Director & CEO, Klaben for over 25 years has helped successful entrepreneurs, families and corporate executives plan, execute and implement financial and wealth strategies, while simplifying their complex financial lives. His first book, Changing the Conversation, embodies the important non-financial issues facing his clients and their families. He has conducted dozens of seminars, workshops and webinars on various financial services subjects, and delivered conference panel talks regarding financial services. He is President of Protinus, Inc., an intellectual property company providing support to financial advisors. He graduated from West Point in 1979 with a BS in General Engineering. He received his Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) designation in 1989 and Master of Science in Financial Services (MSFS), American College, in 1995.
Kevin Coyle — A Managing Director, Coyle has over 25 years of experience helping successful families and business owners develop, implement and maintain customized wealth enhancement and preservation programs. He joined Coyle in 1988. Previously he served as a Trust Officer and Portfolio Manager with the First National Bank of Chicago managing trust and investment advisory relationships. He graduated from Bowdoin College with a BA in Economics and Romance Languages in 1984. He also earned a Master of Management degree from Northwestern University’s J. L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management in 1988. For the past five years, he has headed the Coyle investment team. He holds the Series 65 license as an investment advisor.
John R. Dragstrem – COO & CFO, Dragstrem has 10 years of experience in the financial field, helping serve families with complex financial situations to achieve clarity and confidence in making key decisions. Having a particular affinity for families with special-needs loved ones (his brother has cerebral palsy), he has brought firsthand experience to his mentoring, helping guide family members through the emotional and technical complexities involved with building an effective plan. Prior to starting a career as a financial advisor, he was an Information Technology professional for 25 years, serving as Vice President and Manager of Information Technology at Nuveen Investments, and Senior Vice President and Director of Information Technology at Van Kampen Funds. He earned a BBA in Quantitative Information Science from Western Illinois University in 1979. He obtained his Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) designation in 2007.
Edward J Kelly – CCO & Lead Advisor, Kelly was Coyle’s first full-time employee in 1985. During his tenure at Coyle, he has developed and implemented numerous operational efficiencies. As Chief Compliance Officer, he has interfaced the relationship between government regulators and the firm. As a Family Manager, he focuses on listening to clients, formulating strategies, and motivating clients into action in order to help them enjoy their life knowing that the details of their complex cash flow, tax and estate issues are being closely monitored. He earned a BA from John Carroll University in History and Education in 1974 and obtained an MA in Special Education from Northeastern Illinois University in 1978. He obtained his Certified Financial Planner(CFP®) designation from the College for Financial Planning in 1988. Ed is also an ultramarathon runner.
Robert K. O’Dell – Partner Lead Advisor, O’Dell serves clients from the Naples, Florida, office. With more than 20 years of personal financial planning experience, he has applied his vision and expertise to formulate detailed wealth management plans unique to each client. Prior to co-founding Wheaton Wealth Partners, he developed the financial planning arm for LVM Capital Management, Ltd. He also worked at Renaissance, Inc., the nation’s leader in charitable planning strategies and administration. He graduated from Wheaton College in 1989 with a BA in Communication. He obtained his Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) certification in 1994.
Heather M. Coulter – Lead Advisor, Coulter serves clients from the Wheaton, Illinois, office. She has more than 15 years of experience in the financial field, assisting with tax return preparation and overseeing various financial advisor roles. She received her Accredited Asset Management Specialist (AAMS) through the College of Financial Planning in 2001. She obtained her Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) designation through DePaul University in 2005. She is a member of the Financial Planning Association and local Women’s Insight Networking Services (W.I.N.S.). She also is a Certified Jazzercise® Workout Instructor and helps people become healthier and improve their overall well-being.
John G. Finley – CIO & Lead Advisor, Finley has been described as thorough and caring, with the heart of an educator. With more than 20 years of institutional investment experience, including managing over $1 billion in institutional fixed-income portfolios, he is energized by helping individuals understand the role investing plays in meeting their long-term financial goals. In the complex and often bewildering world of global investing, he seeks to educate clients on the essential aspects of successful long-term investing. In 1982 he graduated with an MBA in finance from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management, and earlier earned a BS degree in finance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1976. He serves as an adjunct finance professor at Wheaton College where he teaches upper-level courses in investment analysis, corporate finance and money & banking. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst charter holder and is a member of the CFA Society of Chicago.
Adam R. Blonsky – Lead Advisor, Blonsky serves clients from the Glenview, Illinois, office. During the past 25 years, he has delivered solutions-driven financial counsel and corporate finance advice to families and business owners. His breadth of experience in the financial industry and commitment to clarity and collaboration provides each client with straightforward, well-reasoned solutions to complex business and personal financial matters. He graduated from MIT in 1983 with a BS in Economics. He also earned his MBA in 1987 from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
Jackie Murphy – Lead Advisor, Murphy serves clients from the Glenview office. She has more than 20 years experience in the financial field and has been a member of the Coyle team since 2005. She obtained an Executive Master of Management degree from Northwestern University Kellogg Graduate School of Management. She received her Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) certification in 1993. She is a member of the Financial Planning Association. She enjoys building long term relationships with her clients and their families while they achieve clarity and confidence in the many facets of their personal and financial lives.