Article first appeared on RIABiz
Scott MacKillop started First Ascent Asset Management at 63, and he is selling it at 71, but the self-described “freak of nature” plans to keep pushing to the summit.
For MacKillop, 71 is the new 51 – something his firm’s new owners get.
“This is not Scott winding down … his role might even get bigger … this rejuvenated him,” says Colin Falls, president and CEO of GeoWealth in Chicago.
MacKillop’s Denver company is merging with GeoWealth and becoming a customer of its TAMP software.
“It was important to us he was going to stay around … he’s the youngest 71 year-old you’ll meet. He’s forgotten more than I know … [and] he can bring more to a company of our scale,” says Falls, 37.
And he’s not about to leave and start again. He signed a five-year noncompete clause with Geowealth after completing a mostly cash deal that closed Mar. 23 after nine months of negotiation.
Neither party would disclose the value of the deal, nor would they disclose the equity stakes given to First Ascent shareholders, MacKillop included, although it is on the smaller end of the scale, with “very little dilution,” according to Falls.
No last act
GeoWealth is still relatively flush with cash after a $19-million raise in Jan. 2022. J.P. Morgan Asset Management and Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors were the lead investors from that round. See: GeoWealth raises $19 Million to out-tech Orion, SEI, AssetMark and Envestnet on RIA outsourcing but then goes after their talent.
The buzz around GeoWealth is that its TAMP technology was purpose-built for RIAs, whereas most TAMPs cater primarily to IBD reps.
RIAs want more control of the investing process but want help to deliver a bundle of compliant managed portfolios.
MacKillop insists, like Falls, that the sale of First Ascent is far from his last act.
“I understand the skepticism … [retirement] is an obvious question, but it had never occurred to me to retire or even slow down after this transaction … [I’m] energized by the possibilities of what we can build … my creative juices are flowing,” he says.
“I may be a bit of a freak of nature, but I still like climbing big mountains … and I still like the challenge of building companies that can take on the bigger players through insight and innovation.”
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