Kowal has 15 employees, while Hayward has four. They’re both family businesses with similar cultures, and both are under the same broker-dealer, Raymond James Financial Services Advisors Inc. Those factors will make the transition easier, said Aaron Kowal, managing director at Kowal Investment Group.
“We were interested in expanding and John (Hayward) shared the same values and it’s a family business, too,” Aaron said. “The clients are used to the statements, they’re logging in to the same place, all that, so it’s a lot less paperwork.”
In addition, Kowal Investment Group president Jeff Kowal, Aaron’s father, has been friends with Hayward, a financial advisor at The Hayward Group, for about 30 years, Aaron Kowal said.
The Hayward Group will be rebranded under the Kowal name, but its office and employees will remain in place. Christine Hayward, John’s daughter and another financial advisor, will continue to be involved and John now has the freedom to exit the business on his own timeline, Aaron said.
“Not a whole lot’s going to change, really,” Aaron said. “A lot of John Hayward’s clients have been with him forever, so they’re not looking for someone to come in and say, ‘Ok, everything you’re doing is wrong. This is how we do it.’”
The combined firm offers retirement, financial and business planning under a fee-only fiduciary model. It has three locations: Waukesha, Port Washington and Middleton.
Kowal Investment Group acquired another firm, a Port Washington-based Raymond James advisory firm led by Monica Donahoe, in 2012. It also has other potential acquisitions on the line, Aaron said.
“We’re talking with some people, but nothing that’s imminent,” he said. “We’re definitely in growth mode. We’ve had a lot of referrals. We have two radio shows now.”