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Inside Bob and Jill Doyle’s decision to sell Doyle Wealth Management

Margie Manning

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Bob Doyle (right) with Chris Steinocher, president and CEO of the St.Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce, and joe Hamilton, St. Pete Catalyst publisher, in the Catalyst studio in March 2020.

Bob Doyle, president and chief investment officer of Doyle Wealth Management, says selling the firm he and his wife Jillian started in 2005 ensures the future of the young wealth managers at the St. Petersburg firm.

“This is the right thing to do to make sure that our next generation have a pathway forward,” Bob Doyle told the St. Pete Catalyst. “We’ve got a lot of great employees here who are the backbone of Doyle Wealth Management. That’s the future of the company and I wanted to make sure we could find a partner to make sure there is a future there for them.”

CI Financial, a Toronto-based wealth and asset management firm, is buying Doyle Wealth for an undisclosed amount in a deal set to close by the end of the year. Doyle Wealth is one of the largest wealth management firms in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area, with $1.2 billion in assets. The company has been recognized by national publications. It was named to the Barron’s list of Florida’s Top Financial Advisors from 2015-2020, ranked No. 3 in North Florida on the 2020 Forbes list of America’s Best in State Wealth Advisors, and appeared on the Forbes list of America’s Top Wealth Advisors from 2016-2019.

“Jill and I started this business 15 years ago. We’ve grown it from about $45 million to $1.2 billion,” Doyle said. “I want to spend more time working in the business and less time working on the business. What I enjoy doing is spending time with clients. That’s my passion. I like the relationship side of it and that’s where I will be able to spend more time. Plus, I was also looking to partner with a firm that has a bigger footprint and more resources.”

One sticking point for Doyle was that a prospective buyer had to keep the staff intact and that will happen, he said. “We have a very deep bench of credentialed professionals and that’s what they found so attractive,” he said.

Doyle Wealth also will retain its name and remain in St. Petersburg, with Bob and Jill Doyle continuing to lead the business. St. Petersburg is a “phenomenal” place for the wealth management industry, Bob Doyle said.

“We have clients all over the country and throughout Florida … They like the fact that we have a footprint from Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale to Jacksonville and Tallahassee. Florida is an unbelievable location for wealth management and the Tampa area is one of the best places to be in the state. Plus, CI found this particularly attractive to them because they have a lot of Canadian clients who spend a lot of time in Florida, particularly in the Tampa Bay area.”

Doyle Wealth also will remain active in the community.

“We’re not losing our culture. We are a part of St. Petersburg. This is my hometown. Our employees live here. We’re still going to be involved in the community. It’s imperative,” he said.

CI Financial is one of Canada’s largest investment and wealth management companies, and it’s been expanding rapidly in the United States. Since entering the U.S. market in February 2020, CI announced 10 acquisitions. Doyle Wealth is No. 11 and gives CI Financial its first foothold in Florida.

On the same day CI announced it would buy Doyle Wealth Management, CI also applied to list its common shares on the New York Stock Exchange. The listing would broaden CI’s investor base, increase its corporate profile in the United States, and support additional U.S. acquisitions by having the ability to offer stock as part of the purchase price, said Kurt MacAlpine, CEO.

The wealth management industry will continue to consolidate, Doyle said.

“We are registered investment advisors. We are a fiduciary, a fee-only firm. Investors have been moving money to fiduciaries for the past 25 years. All of the growth in wealth management is coming from fee-only fiduciaries and it’s all coming from the banks, the wirehouses and the broker-dealers,” Doyle said. “The fee-only fiduciary model is a simple and transparent model. That side of the wealth management business has been growing rapidly. Now firms such as Doyle Wealth Management are merging and joining forces with bigger firms to be able to gain scale, best practices and similar strategies to deliver better service to their clients.”

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