Peoria, Ill. (Sept. 30, 2003) -- As proof of Clifton Gunderson's strategy to aggressively expand into the Mid-Atlantic region, it announced this week the merger of Bel Air, Md.-based Coughlin & Mann into the firm.

The move is the firm’s third acquisition in Maryland since 1999. It merged with Towson-based Coyne & McClean that year and Silver Spring-based Fangmeyer and Fangmeyer in 2001.

And while Clifton Gunderson chief executive Carl George won't name names, he said other potential Mid-Atlantic acquisitions are simmering.

“We like the Mid-Atlantic area and intend to grow internally and externally in the future,” George said. “We know the competition in the area. There are a lot of strong firms in the region, especially locally, so you can expect some aggressive growth there.”

As for its latest conquest, George felt Coughlin & Mann was a firm with an established traditional practice and several niches that complement Clifton Gunderson’s services.

The 46-year old Coughlin & Mann brings 20 employees and five partners with expertise in estate and personal financial planning, asset management, assurance, litigation support, and business valuations. Coughlin & Mann also has a significant tax expertise, an area where Clifton Gunderson wants to expand.

But these services were not the only reasons behind Clifton Gunderson’s purchase decision.

“They have really talented people that we know fit the CG culture. It’s always the first thing we look at,” George said. “Certainly all of what they offer fits our core services, which is key from a service-provider standpoint. We can provide some significant technology services for them, while they bring significant financial planning and services to the table.”

The deal, while an apparent “good fit,” did not come about overnight. Clifton Gunderson began conversations with Coughlin & Mann back in February and took its time to understand the firm’s history, culture, and people.

Coughlin & Mann’s office is also the new home of three Clifton Gunderson employees, who had been located at an existing Bel Air office for the past couple of years.

Clifton Gunderson also has offices in Baltimore and Calverton, Md.

-- Seth Fineberg

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