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Volume 22 No. 44
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Athlete advisers Klarberg, Furst close to deal

Monarch Business and Wealth Management, a company owned by longtime financial adviser Barry Klarberg, is in talks to buy three other companies as part of a plan to build a larger firm that specializes in advising athletes and entertainers in money matters.

One of the three targeted firms is Miami-based ASF Consulting, owned by longtime financial adviser to athletes Allen Furst. That deal, according to both Klarberg and Furst, could be closed as soon as this week.

Deals to acquire the other two companies, which are based in California and Texas, are expected to close sometime this summer, Klarberg said. “We have term sheets out,” he said, but he declined to identify those firms by name.

Klarberg represents 35 current or former athletes, including Mark Messier, Anna Kournikova and Ivan Lendl, along with entertainers that include Justin Timberlake and Charlie Sheen.

Furst’s ASF represents about a dozen current and former MLB and NBA players, including Carlos Zambrano and Alonzo Mourning.

“Allen, like me, is a pioneer, with over 25 years of experience working with professional athletes and entertainers,” Klarberg said. “Our track records alone are good. Together they are great.”

New York-based private equity firm Asset Alliance Corp., which with its affiliates has more than $1 billion under management, recently acquired a 50 percent stake in Klarberg’s company, also based in New York. Asset Alliance is providing funding for the acquisitions, Klarberg said.

“It is more than a consolidation; it’s more of a roll-up,” said Bruce Lipnick, founder, chairman, and CEO of Asset Alliance. He said bringing the individual firms together will help the groups collectively provide even more services to their athlete and entertainer clients.

Each company is run by a veteran wealth adviser with many years of experience and deep relationships in sports and/or entertainment, Klarberg said. The new entity will be renamed Monarch Partners, and the company may hire an executive with CEO-type experience to oversee the firm.

Klarberg, 51, started his career in 1981 at Deloitte & Touche (now Deloitte), founding a sports and entertainment practice that catered to wealthy individuals. In 1992, he founded KRT Business Management, and his business ultimately grew to a point where he was overseeing financials for about 700 athlete clients. In 2000, he joined the former Assante Sports Management Group, later moving his practice to Guggenheim Partners, the group that recently bought the Los Angeles Dodgers. He left Guggenheim and formed Monarch in 2009.

Furst, 58, started at the former ProServ in 1978. He founded ProServ Financial Services in 1986, and in 1989, he teamed with Steve Disson to form Disson, Furst & Partners. He started ASF Consulting in 2002.

There have been a number of roll-ups of agent businesses over the years that have included financial services for athletes. Monarch is planning to focus exclusively on lifelong wealth management for athletes and entertainers.

“With all the years I have been in the industry, I haven’t seen an organization that has approached it with the right mind-set of working exclusively for the athlete on the financial side,” Furst said. “Our main goal and responsibility is to do what is in the best interest of the athlete or celebrity and to make a lot of money and hopefully create some financial security for him and his family for years to come.”