CHICAGO -- In a world with a shrinking number of investment management consulting firms, consultant Capital Resource Advisors Inc., Chicago, is expanding its capabilities with the acquisition of Wellesley Group Inc., Waltham, Mass.
CRA acquired Wellesley Feb. 29 at an undisclosed price from Ned Joachimi, chairman and chief executive officer, and Thomas Astley, senior vice president. They founded the firm in 1986.
Wellesley employees will have a chance to buy an equity stake in CRA at the same discounted price as CRA staff can, said C.R. Sonny Tucker, chief executive officer of CRA. He would not elaborate on the details.
Wellesley will keep its name and operate independent of Waltham. The two consulting firms provide similar services to a range of institutional clients. Wellesley has more than 50 pension fund, endowment and foundation clients on retainer and 20 money managers that buy its research.
"There will be a great deal of continuity, few changes," said Mr. Tucker. "We're just coming in and bringing more investment dollars to the table for investment in technology, staff and consulting products," he said.
There are no plans to lay off any of Wellesley's 21 staff or to combine them with CRA staff. All of Wellesley's staff elected to stay, said Mr. Joachimi.
"We're extraordinarily interested in their staff, especially the junior staff," said Mr. Tucker. "They have a young staff with a lot of energy to build the business and have some strengths we don't have; they're specialists in alternative asset classes, for example. We're going to share best practices, but we bought the talent and have no intention of jeopardizing that team."
Mr. Joachimi, who is 65, said he is a "little older" than his partner Mr. Astley and simply had to think about succession plans.
"I was interested in keeping our people and wanted to provide a platform for going forward. CRA has deep pockets, much deeper than Ned Joachimi," he said.
Mr. Joachimi said he has absolutely no intention of retiring or even taking a less-active role. "There are a few things I really like in life. I don't play golf and I don't play tennis anymore, but I really love my job."
Mr. Joachimi concentrates on running the business, although he also is lead consultant on several of the company's biggest clients, including Chicago Transit Authority.
Mr. Astley will retain his active consulting practice under CRA's ownership, Mr. Joachimi said.
The Wellesley team has been calling clients to inform them of the change and so far, "the news has been very well-received," said Mr. Joachimi.
Mr. Tucker is giving up his other title -- president of CRA -- to Kevin Lanier in order to concentrate on CRA's goal of growth through acquisitions. Mr. Lanier assumes responsibility immediately for the day-to-day operations of CRA.
"With the acquisition of Wellesley and the complexity of integration of the two companies and of future mergers and acquisitions, we needed someone else who can take a hands-on role back at the office," Mr. Tucker said.
Both Messrs. Tucker and Lanier worked together in the pension department at Shell Oil Co.