If anything, the people associated with Evercore Wealth Management don't lack pedigree.
For starters, 25 of the firm's 31 partners, advisors and professional staff formerly worked at U.S. Trust, the nation's oldest trust company and wealth manager for the uberwealthy. And they were all handpicked by Evercore CEO and founder Jeffrey Maurer, a former chairman and CEO at U.S. Trust, after he started his new registered investment advisor firm in late 2008.
Maurer kick-started the endeavor with the help of an institutional partner, Evercore Partners, an investment bank catering to institutional clients founded in 1996 by Roger Altman, a former Lehman Brothers general partner who held high-level U.S. Treasury Department posts during the Carter and Clinton administrations. And Evercore Partners' president and CEO, Ralph Schlosstein, co-founded the asset management giant BlackRock in 1988 and was its president for nearly 20 years.
So reputation isn't a problem for Evercore Wealth Management. And Maurer, 63, hopes the firm's experience and connections will grease the skids for fast growth. It already has nearly $2 billion in assets under management, thanks mainly to a slew of clients who came over from U.S. Trust. By late 2013, Maurer aims to boost that amount to $5 billion.
With U.S. Trust now on its second owner with Bank of America, which follows its unsuccessful stint as a unit of Charles Schwab Corp., it's tempting to consider Evercore Wealth Management as U.S. Trust, The Sequel. But Maurer won't go that far. "We're trying to be more focused than we were at U.S. Trust," he says.
For starters, Evercore Wealth isn't in the banking business, so it's not a group of private bankers. However, it does have a trust company--the former fiduciary services business at Bank of America (founded as part of U.S. Trust in 1987) that it bought last year and rechristened the Evercore Trust Co. to provide institutional and personal trust services.
And the company's roster is chock-full of seasoned equity and fixed-income investment managers, along with wealth advisors and other financial pros whose expertise runs the gamut from portfolio construction to financial and estate planning. And that's basically Maurer's elevator pitch. "I think we do everything an affluent family needs to manage their wealth," he says.
In U.S. Trust, We Trust
Evercore Wealth Management maintains a client minimum of $5 million in investable assets, but its clients' assets generally range from $10 million to $200 million. The firm operates on a fee-based model and takes a holistic, team-based service approach where clients interact with a financial planner, a portfolio manager and a trust specialist. Its management fee is 1%.
Sounds a lot like the high-touch service Maurer and his team dispensed at U.S. Trust, which he joined in 1970. He became president in 1990 and chief operating officer in 1994. He later became CEO in 2001, one year after U.S. Trust was bought by Schwab. It was a mismatched marriage between a gold-plated wealth manager and a discount brokerage with seemingly little in common.
"U.S. Trust was to a certain extent too big to be small and too small to be big," Maurer says, adding that the company was a prized acquisition candidate with no shortage of potential suitors.