Fund Evaluation Group (FEG), one of the largest independent, full-service investment consulting firms in the U.S.[1], was sold to its employees by means of an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) last Friday. All current managing principals will remain fully engaged in the business, and are excited to more broadly distribute the equity ownership among firm employees.

“We always have been proud that FEG is independent and 100-percent employee owned,” Scott B. Harsh, President and CEO of FEG, said. “That is what has enabled us to stay focused on the needs of our clients, and strive to always put them first. With this change, not only do we stay 100-percent employee owned, 100 percent of our employees have the opportunity to own the firm.”

Founded in 1988 as a consultant to pension plans, FEG expanded its business significantly over time, and now offers institutional investors such as universities, foundations, independent schools, religious organizations and healthcare systems the full spectrum of services from traditional investment consulting to outsourced chief investment officer (OCIO) services. In addition, the firm provides proprietary money manager and capital markets research to financial intermediaries, family offices, insurance companies and banks.

Over time, FEG has grown its national presence by opening satellite offices in regions it has deemed strategically important. First, FEG established an office in Indianapolis, and last year, FEG formalized its long-standing business in Texas and the south by opening a Dallas office with the acquisition of Larry Thompson & Associates.

As the company nears its 30-year anniversary in 2018, Harsh is proud of how the company has evolved and added new capabilities to meet client needs. “This transition establishes a long-term, sustainable structure to take FEG forward, and to ensure that every employee can participate collectively in our success,” he said. “We’ve always succeeded when our clients have succeeded. The ESOP structure allows us to share that success and continued growth at all levels of the firm.

“We think empowering every employee as an owner and value creator will be a powerful motivator and continue to maintain a positive feedback loop for both our employees and our clients.”

Read more: Fund Evaluation Group Broadens Its Equity Ownership