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PE-backed firm hires ex-U.S. Soccer chief to boost athlete business

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A private equity-owned company with giant wealth management and insurance holdings tapped the ex-CEO of the U.S. Soccer Federation to ramp up its services for athletes and entertainers.  Days before the opening matches of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, San Francisco-based Galway Holdings announced it had appointed Will Wilson to be the firm’s first chief corporate development officer for global sports and sustainability.

Athletes keep financial advisors busy with an array of planning needs that go beyond “just portfolio management,” said Matthew Bacchiochi, the president of Toronto and Tampa, Florida-based Gavin Hockey Wealth Specialists. Over more than 20 years catering to hockey players since former National Hockey League player Stewart Gavin launched the firm, the practice has built a base of about 105 clients with $500 million in assets including current pros Jack Studnicka of the Vancouver Canucks, Mark Giordano of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Mason McTavish of the Anaheim Ducks. In 2021, the firm merged into Connectus Wealth Advisers, which is one of the largest RIAs owned by aggregator Focus Financial Partners.

For NHL athletes, the complexity begins with the financial implications of working both in Canada and the U.S. and extends to areas such as budget and savings targets, private banking, foreign exchange needs, disability insurance, endorsement deals and residential questions for the relocating players, Bacchiochi said. Many times, advisors or wealth management firms “are trying to enter the athlete market just to gather assets,” he said.

“There’s so much that is involved with these guys that’s unrelated to investments, and there are so many areas that we can create value outside investments,” Bacchiochi said. “Some advisors don’t even realize that they don’t get paid from May until September.”



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