Ron Butt, senior partner and co-founder of ARGI Financial Group, has sold his shares in the company. Butt agreed to allow other partners and the company’s employee stock ownership plan, or ESOP, to buy him out of the company’s ownership group, according to a news release. With this transaction, the ESOP now owns 28 percent of ARGI, a Louisville-based financial advisory firm.

Butt and fellow senior partner Joe Reeves started the ESOP in 2015 as a way to reward employees for the company’s growth, according to the release. At the time, Butt and Reeves each sold a 10 percent share in the company to the ESOP, giving it a 20 percent ownership stake. “While I have sold my shares of the company, ARGI continues to grow and operate as it always has been,” Butt said in the release. “As a founder of this company, my responsibility has been to help ensure the success of our clients, while ensuring the success of our firm. I am now at a place in my career — and my life — to transition this responsibility to the leaders, and future leaders, of our company.”

This is just the beginning of Butt’s succession plan. He’ll continue working at ARGI for the next few years as a financial adviser servicing various client relationships, and he’ll remain an active member of the firm’s investment committee and board of directors, guiding strategy going forward.  “For the past two decades, ARGI has embraced the same core values and has provided our clients with prudent advice, dedicated support and steadfast execution,” Butt said. “I have full confidence that current management and employee owners will propel the company forward, while embracing our firm values and our mission: improve lives with every relationship.”

Reeves noted that he and Butt started the firm more than 20 years ago and that teamwork was a key part of the foundation.

“Working beside Ron has been an honor, especially to witness him develop and live out his own personal financial plan during this exciting time in his life,” Reeves said. “As financial advisers, I believe this is what we were meant to do: help clients plan and achieve their goals. It seems very fitting that ARGI has been able to help Ron do the same for himself and his family.”

The company said the ESOP has had an overwhelming positive effect on the company since it was created. It has fostered an environment in which everyone understands their role in helping the company achieve its goals.  “The ESOP is something that ties us all together,” said Jason Waters, a certified financial planner at ARGI and shareholder. “When we take collective ownership of our firm, everyone is working in unison to impact their personal future, and the future of the company.”

Companies owned by a small minority of owners often have trouble growing and retaining top talent, Joe Tichenor, a shareholder and senior financial adviser with the company, said in the release. “This has not been the case with ARGI due to the leadership and selfless attitude of Ron and Joe,” he said. “The ESOP transaction, along with the sale of Ron’s remaining shares, displays their dedication to growing the company while appreciating the employees. It’s a decision that I believe will help our company accomplish new levels of growth that could surpass all of our employee’s personal financial goals.”

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