Agreement win-win

GMG Private Counsel ULC, part of Toronto-based Gavin Hockey Wealth Specialists, will combine with cross-border firm Cardinal Point Wealth Management on or about June 1, Toronto-based Cardinal Point said on Wednesday in a release. 

As part of the transaction, Gavin Wealth & Wellness ULC will be renamed Cardinal Point Athlete Advisors, providing financial planning, wealth management and related services to about 200 active and retired professional hockey players, the release said. Clients include Jonathan Toews, formerly of the Chicago Blackhawks, John Carlson of the Washington Capitals and Owen Tippett of the Philadelphia Flyers. 

With the transaction, Cardinal Point will oversee nearly $2.9 billion in private client assets, the release said. 

Both Cardinal Point and Gavin Hockey Wealth Specialists were acquired by New York–based Focus Financial Partners Inc. in 2021. Matthew Bacchiochi, co-founder and president of Gavin Hockey Wealth Specialists, and Cardinal Point CEO Jeff Sheldon started discussing combining the two firms last year, Bacchiochi said. 

Gavin will come under Cardinal Point for regulatory purposes, and Cardinal Point’s athlete advisory team will “tuck” into Gavin’s, Bacchiochi said.

In addition to providing wealth management, Gavin educates young professional hockey players on personal finance and helps them on the U.S. side, Bacchiochi said, which could include tasks like opening a U.S. bank account, leasing a car and buying disability insurance. 

“We’ll do all of those kinds of asset protection and those defensive strategies to make sure they’re set up,” he said. 

Although Gavin has existing cross-border operations, Cardinal Point will bring U.S. tax experience, Bacchiochi said. “Whereas previously we would’ve had to rely a lot on our outside service providers … we’ll have more of that talent and expertise in house.” 

Gavin doesn’t target athletes from other sports given that the firm has growth potential serving hockey players, Bacchiochi said, though the firm’s clients include former tennis players, Major League Baseball players and Olympians. 

The combined firm will have 20 specialized and dedicated team members, according to a firm brochure, about six of whom will be client-facing, Bacchiochi said.  

Several team members have hockey backgrounds, including Gavin co-founder and advisory board member Stew Gavin, who played for the Toronto Maple Leafs, and Cardinal Point business development strategist Curtis Glencross, who had an 11-year career in the National Hockey League and will serve on the new firm’s advisory board. 

“We’ve all got hockey backgrounds to a certain degree,” Bacchiochi said. “We’ve all got that … in our DNA, which is nice.”