Early Beginnings

In 1987, Michael J. Cleary and several partners founded Cleary Gull Inc., a boutique broker-dealer with an original focus of research, sales, and trading for institutions. In response to client needs as well as market opportunities, Investment Banking and Wealth Management capabilities were added in the 1990s.


In 1998, Tucker Anthony Sutro, a Boston-based financial service firm, acquired Cleary Gull. A few months after Tucker Anthony Sutro was acquired by the Royal Bank of Canada – Dain Rauscher (RBC) in 2001, our principals and employees led a buy back that returned the company to our entrepreneurial roots.

“Our overriding desire was to own and control our own destiny for ourselves, our clients and employees,” said Managing Director Bob Warner.

Once again independent, Cleary Gull focused on Wealth Management and Investment Banking services. After a merger with MBO Advisors in 2003, MBO Cleary Advisors Inc. was formed as a third division of the company focusing on Institutional Investment Advisory services. The result: we grew in size and increased the amount of client assets we have under advisement. In January of 2011 in furtherance of unifying our public image and becoming a single brand, MBO Cleary Advisors Inc. changed its name to Cleary Gull Advisors Inc.


In June, 2016, Johnson Financial Group acquired Cleary Gull Advisors Inc. The acquisition included both the Institutional Advisory and Wealth Management divisions of Cleary Gull Advisors and Cleary Gull Inc. The Investment Banking division was not part of the acquisition.

The combined company resulted in more than $9 billion in assets under administration for Johnson Financial Group. The synergies between the two companies, including the desire to remain privately held and Wisconsin based, allows us to continue to serve our customers with the professional expertise and dedicated personal, caring approach they have come to know — now and for generations to come. This also strengthens our ability to serve our clients by providing access to the full breadth of services Johnson Financial Group offers, including trust, banking and insurance services.


Cleary Gull Inc. is founded by Michael Cleary and colleagues as a boutique broker-dealer to provide research, sales, and trading to institutions.

The firm adds investment banking.
Wealth Management
division is started.
With 125 employees in three offices,
Cleary Gull merges into newly public
parent company of two old line investment
firms Tucker Anthony and Sutro & Co.
Cleary Gull’s parent
company is acquired by
Royal Bank of Canada.
Management and employees reacquire the
firm and focus on investment banking
and wealth management.
Cleary Gull Holdings and MBO Advisors
create a new Investment Advisor
subsidiary MBO Cleary Advisors Inc.
MBO Cleary Advisors rebrands
to Cleary Gull Advisors.
Cleary Gull Inc. celebrates
25th year anniversary.
Cleary Gull Advisors acquires the wealth management division of Cleary Gull Inc. and is simultaneously acquired by Johnson Financial Group, resulting in combined
$9 billion in assets under administration.