Consulting firms Verus Advisory Inc. and Strategic Investment Solutions Inc. are merging. The combined firm will have responsibility for more than $380 billion in assets under advisement, said Barry Dennis, SIS CEO and Jeffrey MacLean, Verus CEO, in separate interviews.
The merger is expected to be completed Jan. 1. Strategic Investment Solutions will be renamed Verus, but SIS’ San Francisco office will remain open.
Verus’ management team will manage the combined firm, and there will be no change in titles. Mr. MacLean will continue in his role as CEO. The firm’s management committee will also remain unchanged. Verus’ management team also includes Jeffrey Scott, chief investment officer; Shelly Heier, president and chief operating officer; Kraig McCoy, chief financial officer; Scott Whalen, executive vice president; and Omer Tareen, managing director.
“Verus has spent the last five years building an investment team that really, in my humble opinion, stands apart from just about every consulting firm in the country,” Mr. MacLean said. “We had one area where we were weak and that was in alternatives.”
Verus added to its alternative investment capability when it contracted with Aksia LLC in April to gain access to its hedge fund investment team and due diligence reviews. The combined company will continue the relationship with Aksia.
Now the firm will add SIS’ “world class” private equity capability as well as a presence in the large public fund market, Mr. Dennis said.
Verus is just gaining traction in the large pension fund market, but it has a presence in the Taft-Hartley market that SIS lacks, Mr. Dennis added.
Verus employs 77 workers in two offices and advises on assets in excess of $118 billion in its discretionary and non-discretionary consulting, outsourced CIO and risk advisory. SIS has 23 employees in one office in San Francisco and advises on assets in excess of $267 billion, all non-discretionary.
Executives do not expect layoffs or departures as a result of the merger.
Mr. Dennis said the deal also makes sense because Verus brings additional research and risk management resources. It also facilitates succession planning, said Mr. Dennis, who will become a Verus managing director and a member of Verus’ board of directors.
“I own a significant portion of SIS,” said Mr. Dennis, who declined to provide the percentage. “To cash out my shares will require additional resources and Verus provides those.”
Mr. Dennis, who is 64, added that he has no immediate plans to retire.
He said that in addition to sitting on the board of directors, he will focus on providing consulting services for current clients and mentoring Verus consultants.