- March 1, 2017; Vol. 4, Number 3

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The Aggregation Strategy: Rob Francais, co-founder and CEO of Aspiriant, is on a merger spree and stoking national ambitions

by Mike Consol

By his own account, Rob Francais backed into the wealth advisory business. He already had a big-time career running at full throttle as a tax partner at the Big Four accounting and consulting firm of Deloitte. The mid- to late-1990s were an extraordinary time because many of the affluent families on the Francais client list operated businesses. With the U.S. economy in a state of “incredible activity” around mergers and acquisitions, about 30 of those client businesses were sold off for a goodly fortune.

“There was a lot of money in motion back then,” he says.

Admittedly, Francais’ knowledge of the wealth management industry was roughly zero, though he was integral in helping clients arrive at decisions about valuation and the wisdom of selling their businesses for the offer being proffered. He helped them find investment bankers, structured the deals from a tax perspective, did estate planning, and other pre-sale processes.

There was the closing dinne

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