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Louisville-based wealth management firm Hilliard Lyons said on Tuesday that it has agreed to merge with the investment firm giant Baird, in part to put the local firm in a better financial position to support additional investments and growth.

HL said in a news release that the proposed deal, the details of which were not disclosed, has been approved by the HL Financial Services majority shareholder, Houchens Industries.

Baird Chairman Paul Purcell said in the news release that the merger would “accelerate the success of both firms and the success of our clients,” while Hilliard Lyons Chairman and CEO Jim Allen said that Baird “is a great fit for our clients and for the Hilliard Lyons team.

Hilliard Lyons employs nearly 1,000, including more than 380 financial advisers in more than 70 offices in 11 states. It offers services including wealth management, estate planning and investment banking and has more than $50 billion in client assets. Baird, established in 1919 has nearly 3,500 employees, including 890 financial advisers in 30 states. It has client assets of about $211 billion.

Jim Allen | Courtesy of Hilliard Lyons

In an email Allen and two other Hilliard Lyons leaders sent to employees Tuesday afternoon, they said that while Hilliard “is in good health,” joining Baird “enables us to enhance the services and capabilities we provide, and access growth capital and liquidity for our investors.”

“It’s about giving our employees and clients the best opportunities, and it also means our employees get to rejoin an employee-owned firm which has been a top goal of ours,” they said.

“Baird’s strong reputation, laser focus on clients, associate-friendly work environment, and long history of giving back to the community make this an incredibly sound merger, both culturally and strategically,” the leaders said.

They also referenced Baird’s complementary geographic reach.

Allen and other top Hilliard Lyons executives will continue in their roles post-merger, which the parties expect to be completed in the second half of 2019. Baird said that it would continue to maintain “a significant presence in the Louisville community.”

Hilliard Lyons could not be reached immediately to say how the merger would impact local customers and employees.

Boris Ladwig
Boris Ladwig is a reporter with more than 20 years of experience and has won awards from multiple journalism organizations in Indiana and Kentucky for feature series, news, First Amendment/community affairs, nondeadline news, criminal justice, business and investigative reporting. As part of The (Columbus, Indiana) Republic’s staff, he also won the Kent Cooper award, the top honor given by the Associated Press Managing Editors for the best overall news writing in the state. A graduate of Indiana State University, he is a soccer aficionado (Borussia Dortmund and 1. FC Köln), singer and travel enthusiast who has visited countries on five continents. He speaks fluent German, rudimentary French and bits of Spanish, Italian, Khmer and Mandarin.