(Dow Jones) With the purchase last week of Morse Williams and Co., 18-month-old Evercore Wealth Management embarked on a selective acquisition campaign to attract like-minded wealth managers.

Jeffrey Maurer, Evercore Wealth Management's chief executive, says the plan is to augment the firm's organic-growth efforts.

"We're looking to partner with firms where it makes sense to do so," he says. "We're especially interested in partners who think about this business [as we do]."

Evercore Wealth Management employs a service-team approach that puts clients in direct contact with equity and fixed-income portfolio managers as well as financial planners and, where relevant, trust professionals. The selection of a favorite contact is left entirely to time and the client. "They're all available to the client," says Maurer.

The location of acquisition candidates isn't a primary concern to Evercore Wealth Management, but qualified firms in New York and San Francisco, where it is already established; and in Boston, Washington, D.C., Houston and Los Angeles, where its investment-bank parent company Evercore Partners has satellite offices; might come in for special consideration. And Florida, where "most northeastern wealth-management firms look" with a view to serving retirees and clients with vacation homes, is another favored site, says Maurer.

Overall, acquisition-fueled growth will take a back seat to Evercore Wealth Management's organic-growth efforts. Right now, the business manages $1.7 billion. By its fifth anniversary in late in 2013, Maurer says he hopes to see $5 billion in assets from organic growth alone.

Evercore Wealth Management recently named former AllianceBernstein executive Wendy Barasch as its head of business development, a new position. When she starts next month, she'll concentrate on bringing in new business through direct outreach to prospects and by helping to hire advisory teams, according to Maurer.

"We have sufficient portfolio-management talent," says Maurer, referring to a team of about 12 managers out of a staff of 40. Most of them, like Maurer, are former U.S. Trust executives. And though it will keep an eye out for gifted investment strategists, its focus will be on reeling in asset gatherers--especially ones with big books of high-net-worth business.


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