Decosimo Corporate Finance and Brown form partnership

Decosimo Corporate Finance and Brown form partnership

April 9th, 2017 by Dave Flessner in Business Around the Region

Tom Decosimo, center, speaks a Chris Hall, left, and Winston Brown listen Wednesday, April 5, 2017 at Waterhouse Public Relations.

Photo by Angela Lewis /Times Free Press.

Two years after breaking away from the accounting firm founded by his father, Tom Decosimo and his Decosimo Corporate Finance (DCF) are teaming up with fourth-generation insurance agent Winston Brown in a joint venture to help business owners plan for ownership transitions in their companies.

DCF, which aided in more than $500 million worth of business sales last year, has formed Decosimo/Brown Strategies, LLC to offer a variety of transition, estate, retirement planning and executive benefit strategies.

Decosimo Corporate Finance broke away in 2015 from the former Joseph Decosimo & Associates his father started when the Decosimo CPA firm merged with Elliott Davis. Decosimo said at that time he began talking with Brown and his father, the late Allen C. Brown, about ways to help businesses reduce their risks and enhance the value of their businesses through insurance and employee benefit programs and plans.

DCF works with businesses across the country and in a variety of industries to help assess and improve the value of the companies, which is especially important for businesses wishing to sell some or all of the company.

"Companies get audits and prepare financial statements, but few know the true value of their business," Decosimo said. "Knowing the value of your company and how to improve it is maximizing value and making any transition in the business, whether that is ultimately selling the business or transferring it to other executives or family members. Once you understand the value of the company, which is primarily what I do, that leads to figuring out ways to maintain or enhance that value by ensuring that key people stay with the business and, should something happen, the other owners have sufficient resources to buy out that share and keep the business going."

Winston Brown, who will lead the new joint venture, said the partnership can help identify ways for businesses to reward and retain top talent and insure against the loss of a partner and the subsequent need to buy out that partner's ownership interest. As an independent agent, Brown is able to identify whatever insurance products or business strategies might help a company eager to limit its risks and grow its value with the right staff, cash flow and financial protections.

"Attracting, retaining and growing key employees are critical to the success of a business, and that's where many of the strategies and executive benefits and insurance options we can provide are important," Brown said.

The Brown family has been providing Chattanooga regional businesses with a variety of financial products beginning with Winston's great-grandfather, Ed Brown Sr., his grandfather, Ed Brown Jr., his late father, Allen Brown, and his uncle, Huxley Brown, who is president of Brown Associates Inc., a local brokerage firm that is separate from Winston Brown's insurance business.

DCF, with origins dating back to Joe Decosimo's entry in the Chattanooga accounting profession in 1952, has been involved in more than $15 billion in transactions as a part of Joseph Decosimo and Associates and as an independent business for the past two years. DCF provides its clients with assistance in business valuation, estate planning and sell and buy-side advisory.

Tom Decosimo, in his role as a valuation consultant, has given valuation testimony in the U.S. Tax Court and has helped lead some of the region's largest transactions.

"Leveraging our combined strengths forms an effective partnership for the business community and the region," Decosimo said. "We view helping clients understand the value of their business as the foundation to essential corporate planning. Winston's knowledge and access to financial solutions is critical to efficiently executing these plans."

Joining the Decosimo/Brown Strategies, LLC team is Chris Hall, a certified financial planner, who has worked around the globe in investment banking. He previously was employed at FSG Bank in Chattanooga. Hall received his undergraduate degree in economics from Duke University and MBA in finance from George Washington University.

Decosimo will continue to head DCF, which also operates a Cincinnati office led by Paul Cheney and a Nashville office headed by Charlie Gerber. DCF also has an affiliate network that includes firms in Dallas, Houston, Denver, Detroit and New York.

Contact Dave Flessner at dflessner@timesfreepress.com or 423- 757-6340.