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Baird to buy $2B firm with 12 advisors

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Baird is buying M. Griffith, a small wealth management firm in upstate New York that has a dozen advisors overseeing $2 billion in client assets, the company announced.

The move expands Baird's presence in the Northeast and continues the firm's tradition of selective acquisitions and hires. Last month, Baird recruited three teams that managed approximately $880 million in client assets. And in January, the Milwaukee-based brokerage firm hired John Taft as vice chairman to help spur growth. Taft previously served as CEO of RBC Wealth Management-U.S.

Terms of the deal to acquire M. Griffith were not disclosed.

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M. Griffith, which is based New Hartford, New York, has "a business model and client-focused culture that are very consistent with Baird's, making them an excellent business partner," Baird CEO Steve Booth said in a statement.

The small firm was founded in 1947 by President David Griffith's parents, Richard and Margaret Griffith. Margaret managed the company following Richard's death in 1951; David joined in 1968 and has served as president of the firm since 1972, according to the company's website.

"I'd been thinking about the right way to help write M. Griffith's next chapter for some time — how we best continue to serve our clients as they have grown to expect, how we maintain our culture and our tradition as an employee-owned firm and how we continue to attract top financial talent all while keeping pace with an increasingly complex business," David Griffith said in a statement. "I found the answer in Baird, which embodies the same culture and values that have long defined M. Griffith, and is nationally recognized as a best place to work. It's a great fit for our clients and the M. Griffith team."

When the acquisition closes, David Griffith will serve as vice chairman of private wealth management, according to Baird. He'll remain involved with clients while also representing Baird in the community, per the company.

Baird currently has more than 860 advisors working from 94 branches. The company posted record net revenues of $1.53 billion in 2017, a 10% increase over 2016.

Baird's last wealth management acquisition, in 2014, was of McAdams Wright Ragen, a Seattle-based firm that had 85 advisors operating from seven branch offices in the Pacific Northwest.

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