Wealth management firm Archford Capital Strategies recently acquired asset management firm Deschaine & Co. in Belleville, which was founded in 1999 by Marnie Deschaine and her late husband, Mark Deschaine. The new company operates under the Archford Capital Strategies name. Company chief executive officer James Maher recently invited business writer Will Buss to his office to discuss the merger:
How does this merger affect the clients of these two firms?
“It’s really the coming together of an asset management firm, which Deschaine & Co. has been since Marnie and her late husband, Mark, organized in 1999. Mark had an investment philosophy since the 1980s about how to invest in rising dividend-type companies, very familiar with what our chief investment officer, Jerry West, followed when he was in the research department at Edward Jones in St. Louis. So we have a very comfortable feeling about how that’s done, the process-driven approach they take behind the scenes.
From our standpoint, I think that it’s a great merger because it not only helps out clients in another investment discipline that is additive to what we do, but it also helps her clients in the ability to have exposure to more of a wealth management practice with 25 professional designations in our asset management and wealth management practice, two chartered financial analysts, two MBAs, three CPAs, a wealth of information with a fiduciary-driven practice. So we support greatly the Department of Labor’s new standard and SEC standard on the best interest of the client.”
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Where does the new company operate?
“What we’ve done is we have brought the Deschaine & Co. employees into the main office in Swansea. We still have our Creve Coeur office in Missouri that was opened earlier this year.”
Was there a synergy between the two firms that made this deal imminent?
“That’s a great question and we’ve had several people ask us that. Ironically, one of Marnie’s clients introduced her to us because of the type of practice that we run, our familiarity with businesses in transition as far as for her and her family, as far as what made a lot of sense long term for her clients and for Deschaine & Co.’s continued longevity with those clients. We have a tiered approach that there’s eight to 10 years between our senior management, our middle management and then our evolving emerging leaders in our company. From a continuity standpoint, after going through this, I think that was very important to Marnie that she knows that her customers will always be taken care of, if something were to happen to her or if something were to happen to me that there would always be a practice that’s been built to support that. And I think that’s important to customers. So it gives them a wonderful opportunity to have confidence in safety in the process.”
Who are your clients?
“Both of our practices dealt with closely held businesses and individuals that are in retirement. This is an important asset to them and how they perceive it and how they operate it. Our niche is we have done a lot of work with professionals in closely held businesses, a very unique practice in the metro area.”
What is your service area?
“We work with 100 closely held businesses in the metro area. We have a grouping of philanthropic clients and retired individuals and professionals that would balance out our practice at a total of around 300 households. We are over $530 million in assets. The other important thing that is a kind of nice milestone is that we just passed a half billion in investment banking relationships that we are currently engaged in. So we’re helping businesses’ source capital to expand.”
What sets your firm apart from others?
“We have three components to our practice. One is core asset management. The other part of our practice is consulting business services, and the third part is retirement plan services. We are independent. So when someone says what’s Archford Capital? I say it is best financial solutions. So if it’s an individual, if it’s a business, we’re not captive to any bank or wire house or brokerage firm. We’re able to go search the market for those solutions in our current structure and it’s been wonderful.
We’re ranked 353rd nationally by Financial Adviser Magazine as a (registered investment adviser practice) this past year, for 2014. I think one of the things that’s important is that we also do a lot of surveying of our current customers. We have a 98 percent retention and 96 percent recommendation level with our clients. The industry average is about 82 percent. So we are tracking the service that we provide to customers and we’re very excited about that.”
Contact reporter Will Buss at firstname.lastname@example.org or 618-239-2526.
Job: Founder, Chief Executive Officer, Archford Capital Strategies at 4941 Benchmark Centre Drive in Swansea (618-416-7085)
Outlook: “Both of our practices dealt with closely held businesses and individuals that are in retirement. This is an important asset to them and how they perceive it and how they operate it.”