Goldman Sachs Broadens Wealth Management Offerings with Ayco Acquisition

Theme: Clients

In 2003, Goldman Sachs acquires the Ayco Company, L.P. (Ayco), a leading provider of fee-based financial counseling. Ayco will operate as part of the firm’s Private Wealth Management business.

In 1971, Bill Aydelotte and Jim Conway formed Ayco Planning Services, Inc. to provide corporate-sponsored financial counseling to executives. Based in Saratoga Springs, New York, Ayco would grow over the years into a full-service financial management firm serving individuals and institutions, with offices around the United States. By 2003, Ayco offered financial counseling and education to senior executives at more than 465 corporations and employed nearly 1,100 legal, financial, tax and estate planning, and accounting professionals.

That year, Goldman Sachs announced that Ayco would become a wholly owned subsidiary of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. Acquiring Ayco allowed Goldman Sachs, through its Private Wealth Management platform, to offer an expanded suite of financial planning services, including tax, estate, and charitable planning, to its clients.

At the time of its acquisition, Ayco had approximately US$7 billion in client assets. This figure grew more than tenfold over the next decade to US$75 billion in 2018. That year, Ayco secured a mandate to provide financial counseling to employees at all levels on Google’s US-based staff through a technology-based platform—one of the largest such deals it had signed to date. Ayco now provides comprehensive financial management for institutions, including executives and broad-based populations, not-for-profits, high-net-worth individuals and their families.

Also in 2018, Goldman Sachs announced that Marcus, the firm’s online personal lending and savings platform, would be integrated into the Investment Management Division, thus coming under the same umbrella as Ayco (Private Wealth Management was subsumed into the Investment Management Division in 1999) in the newly structured Consumer and Investment Management Division. Among other synergies resulting from this combination, Ayco clients could now seamlessly access Marcus products and services.

The Ayco acquisition signaled Goldman Sachs’ commitment to broadening both the array of services it offered its private wealth clients and the range of clients the firm served. In the years that followed, the acquisition, along with the firm’s continued investment in technology and web-based platforms like Marcus, would position Goldman Sachs on the forefront of technology-enabled consumer finance businesses.