Iron Capital Advisors, an investment consulting firm specializing in defined contribution plans, expects to complete a major shift in ownership by the end of the month. Charles E. "Chuck" Osborne, managing director, will increase his ownership of the firm to 75% from 15%, while Laurence O. Gray will reduce his ownership stake to 25% from the current 85%, said Mr. Osborne. Mr. Gray is president and owner of investment management consulting firm Gray & Co. Mr. Osborne said the deal is expected to close by the end of January. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Iron Capital has 13 defined contribution clients with assets totaling $4.5 billion, he said.
The change was part of the original business plan when Messrs. Osborne and Grey founded the firm in 2003, Mr. Osborne said. "We had agreed I would take more ownership and buy him out over time," he said. No timeframe has been proposed for acquiring the remaining 25% from Mr. Gray, Mr. Osborne said.
Mr. Gray, who has never had an operational role in the firm, has been instrumental in its development as the key financial backer and rainmaker in attracting half of its institutional clients, and he will continue to serve in an advisory capacity to the firm, Mr. Osborne said. "The business model for Iron Capital was my idea, and Larry Gray had the wherewithal and client contacts to get the business plan started," Mr. Osborne said. "We could not be here without his contribution to the firm."
The firm will no longer be minority-owned once the shift in ownership takes place, although Mr. Osborne noted that Iron Capital had never sought certification as a minority-owned firm in promoting its business.
Iron Capital is seeking a director of business development, a new position. Qualifications include a track record in gaining new business, an entrepreneurial bent and a commitment to zero tolerance in conflicts of interest and ethical violations, Mr. Osborne said. The firm hopes to fill the position as soon as it finds a suitable candidate.
Mr. Gray — who is also owner and president of United Investment Managers, which has $110 million under management as a manager of emerging managers — couldn't be reached for comment.