Cresset acquires Cypress, hints at future OZ deals in the works

Why this is important: Cresset has been extremely active in making acquisitions and adding staff, and is not done yet.

Cresset Asset Management said Thursday it acquired the San Francisco registered investment adviser Cypress Wealth Advisors. Terms weren’t disclosed.

Barbara Young, Cypress’s founder, CEO and CIO, will become a partner at Cresset. Cypress adds more than $500 million in AUM, Cresset said.

This acquisition comes a few weeks after Cresset acquired Evanston Advisors, which also had more than $500 million in AUM. The acquisitions bring Cresset’s AUM to more than $4.5 billion.

The firms have joined to be part of what Cresset is building, Founder and Co-Chairman Eric Becker said.

“What you’re seeing is some of these wonderful independent firms see the culture, the access to private investments, the leadership [at Cresset,] and they want to be part of it,” Becker told Buyouts. “I think it speaks to the value proposition and what we’re building for the long term.”

Cresset was formed in early 2017 by Becker and Avy Stein, both PE veterans. Becker founded Sterling Partners in 1983 and Stein co-founded Willis Stein & Partners in 1994.

Cresset offers family office services, wealth management, investment advice, as well as access to direct investment opportunities, its website says. In direct investments, opportunity zones are a big focus, about which Stein recently spoke to Buyouts.

Barbara Young, Cresset, Cypress Wealth Advisors, San Francisco
Barbara Young of Cypress. Image sourced to Cresset.

Cresset has been staffing up in recent months and has already launched its first OZ fund, in addition to the acquisitions of Cypress and Evanston.

“What you see here is a setting of the table or getting ready. We’ve really invested very heavily in building the platform and ecosystem of the future,” he said.

Recently, Cresset closed its first OZ deal in Houston, in partnership with Hines. Becker said future deals are coming in Portland, Denver and Nashville.

“You’ll see investments coming out of that fund over the next few months that are very significant in the qualified opportunity zones space,” Becker said.

Becker also said Cresset plans acquisitions of more RIAs over the next three to six months as it slowly ramps up its activities.

“Long-term commitments are a bias that we have,” Becker said. “I think that not only in these acquisitions which were strategic and now become part of Cresset, but even in our direct private investment, you’ll see a bias towards longer-term investing.”

Action item: Contact Cresset here.