November 20. 2012 9:00AM - Last modified: November 20. 2012 9:41AM

Ohio firm makes Milwaukee a hub

Cleveland, Ohio-based Cohen Fund Audit Services, which opened a Milwaukee office in September, has decided to make Milwaukee one of its hubs.

Cohen performs audits and other attest and tax services for mutual funds, hedge funds and investment partnerships, broker/dealers and investment advisors. It also has an office in Dublin, Ohio. This is the firm's first out of state location.

The Milwaukee office has grown from three to nine employees, and anticipates it will have 10 to 15 employees in the next year. Cohen has about 50 employees total.

Chris Bellamy, a partner based in Cleveland, said Cohen has been working to develop relationships in the Milwaukee market for the last seven or eight years. Eventually, it seemed like a good fit for a permanent location.

"From our research, Milwaukee is involved with somewhere between 10 and 20 percent of all mutual funds in the country," Bellamy said. "It's somewhat of a diamond in the rough."

That's more mutual fund involvement than most other Midwest cities, he said. That also means it's easier to attract talent.

"The fact that the city is attractive to the people that we're hiring and our existing staff makes it desirable to expand and make it a significant piece of our practice," Bellamy said.

Cohen's Milwaukee office has grown by reputation and word of mouth, said Marcy Conklin, senior audit manager in Milwaukee.

"There would be nothing that would prevent us from continuing to grow this office to a really substantial number for our firm," Conklin said. "We've already exceeded our expectations for our first year."