A UBS team of advisors with a billion dollars under management has left the Swiss bank to form IFM Capital Advisors, an independent RIA.

Founding partners Timothy Kneen and Clayton Hartman are launching their Colorado-based venture with the assistance of Focus Financial's Focus Connections program, which helps wirehouse advisor teams transition their business. IFM will become a partner firm of Focus Financial, which is providing access to capital and other resources to assist with IFM’s launch, according to a Focus spokeswoman.

Kneen and Hartman, along with their team of 17 former UBS employees, will maintain three separate offices in Denver, Fort Collins, Colo., and Sioux Falls, S.D. IFM will provide financial planning for high-net-worth individuals, institutions and family office clients as well as wealth transition services such as business succession.

"We've always wanted to hold the very best interest of our clients first. Doing it in the independent field allows us to do that better. It actually enables us to increase returns by reducing expenses," Hartman says.

"Every broker in this country has the ability to leave a wirehouse and set up a practice," says Rudy Adolf, CEO of Focus Financial. For the best of the best, we want to be their partners and help them succeed."

Since launching in 2006, Focus Financial has grown from $3 billion assets under management to $70 billion, with 27 independent partner firms that are part of Focus' network.

2-DECADE PARTNERSHIP

Kneen and Hartman are veteran advisors, and have worked together for more than two decades. Hartman has 33 years of experience in the industry, and has served on the board of directors for Fort Collins United Way and the Fort Collins Cancer Society. Kneen has worked in the industry for 25 years; he also has experience starting new companies, having launched five businesses of his own.

"They're very entrepreneurial advisors," says Wendy Leung, senior consultant at Diamond Consultants, who worked with Kneen and Hartman to develop their exit strategy. "They really had this independent DNA throughout their lives, and had a desire to build an enterprise."

Joining Hartman and Kneen in launching IFM are team members Rick Basford, Alan Beugg, Daniel Gamache, Jeffrey Gordon, Wayne Jamerson, Brian Sullivan, and Jennifer Thompson. Kneen will run the Denver office and Hartman will lead the Fort Collins office. Tom Dempster, a former South Dakota state senator and UBS employee, will head IFM's Sioux Falls office.

Adolf predicts that the exodus of advisors from wirehouses will continue and that advisors, clients and Focus Financial will benefit.

"We believe that 2014 will be a very strong year" for Focus, Adolf says. A significant number of retention bonuses will be expiring. And it will be expensive for firms to try to retain those advisors."

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