Grand Junction investment company merges with growing firm

Doug May
Doug May

Phil Castle, The Business Times

A Grand Junction investment company that for more than eight years has provided proactive services based on independent research has joined a growing firm of independent advisors who do the same thing.

May-Investments has merged with Avant-Garde Advisors in an arrangement expected to bring additional resources to the combined operation that will benefit clients.

“It’s a good partnership,” said Doug May, founder, president and chief investment officer of May-Investments.

“The merger benefits Avant-Garde by acquiring a quality staff led by a sound investment manager,” said Eric Patton, chief financial officer of Avant-Garde.  “May brings an expertise that can only enhance our current offering of investment services.”

While May-Investments will change its name to Avant-Garde Advisors, the staff and location will remain the same, May said.

Avant-Garde maintains its headquarters in Denver. But the nearly 5-year-old firm operates a growing number of offices in such far-flung locations as San Francisco, Los Angeles and Scottsdale, Ariz.

With the merger, Avant-Garde will have more than $260 million under management and is expected to exceed $300 million by the end of the year.

May said one of the biggest short-term advantages of the merger will be the availability of additional resources to help conduct investment research he previously handled on his own. May will join an investment committee comprised of portfolio managers conducting concerted research and honing their investment disciplines.

Moreover, different advisors bring to Avant-Garde different areas of expertise, and that can be shared with clients, May added. Still other resources will be available to help with information technology, marketing and office management. “I think being part of a bigger network will be advantageous.”

May said the merger also provides over the long term a succession plan that insures continuity of service to his clients. “It answers a serious question: What happens if I get hit by a Twinkie truck?”

May expects substantial growth for his office, not only in providing services to existing Avant-Garde clients in Western Colorado, but in attracting new clients. “It is exciting to think about the growth possibilities that this merger provides.”

What won’t change, May said, is a focus on providing advice and services that put clients first. Both May-Investments and Avant-Garde Advisors were founded out of a desire to escape a culture in which commission-based compensation tends to puts firms and advisors first, he said.

May launched May-Investments in 2005 after working for two decades for institutions and bank trust departments.

Patton and Jon Dubravac founded Avant-Garde early in 2009 after working as financial advisors with New England Financial, a financial services and life insurance company headquartered in Boston.

May said Patton and Dubravac share his  fervor for investment management and customer service. “They have the same kind of passion.”