Facebook of business sparks Buckingham deal

Firm buys Founders Financial to bulk up services to Silicon Valley clients, including employees at social networking giant

By Liz Skinner

Sep 6, 2012 @ 3:55 pm (Updated 4:11 pm) EST

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(Photo: Bloomberg News)

Buckingham Family of Financial Services is boosting its Silicon Valley presence and adding $600 million in client assets by acquiring Founders Financial Network LLC in Cupertino, Calif.

The additional California resources will help Buckingham service its West Coast clients, including certain employees of Facebook Inc. who profited when the social network site held its initial public offering in May, said Adam Birenbaum, chief executive of Buckingham Asset Management LLC. These clients have hundreds of millions of dollars under management with Buckingham, he said.

“Geographically this makes a whole lot of sense to have boots on the ground on the West Coast,” he said.

Buckingham, which has expanded with five other purchases over the past two years and includes Buckingham Asset Management and BAM Advisor Services, will have nearly $17 billion in assets under management when the Founders deal closes Oct. 1, the firms said on Thursday. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Buckingham already has a small California operation through a Santa Rosa firm it merged with two years ago. It also has an office in Park City, Utah.

Robert Kresek, managing partner at Founders, said the two firms have similar investment philosophies focused on research and passive investing. Founders' clients will have access to Buckingham's bond trading desk, which Mr. Kresek called “one of the top in the country.

“We're building a much stronger, sustainable organization that is less dependent on any one individual,” said Mr. Kresek, who started Founders in 1997 after a first career in information technology. It has five financial advisers.

Founders was one of the firms that created aggregator Focus Financial Partners LLC. Buckingham also is part of the Focus network.

Focus helped Buckingham and Founders structure their deal and work out the “legal issues” but didn't craft the idea for the merger, Mr. Kresek said.

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