RIT Capital Partners' acquisition of Societe Generale Private Banking's 37% interest in Rockefeller Financial Services will help the wealth management firm expand its global reach, according to Reuben Jeffery III, CEO of Rockefeller & Co.

Prior to linking up with RIT Capital, Rockefeller was a global investor with "a core of U.S. clients," Jeffery said. David Rockefeller, retired chairman of Rockefeller & Co., and Chase Manhattan Bank, has known Lord Jacob Rothschild for nearly 50 years, Jeffery added.

Jeffery himself had spent 18 years with Goldman Sachs & Co., where he was managing partner of its Paris office and of its financial instiutions group in London. After the events of September 11, 2001, Jeffery went to work in the Bush Administration, serving in several positions, including under secretary of state for economic, energy and agricultural affairs and chairman of the U.S. Commodity and Futures Trading Commission. He joined Rockefeller as chief executive in September, 2010.

Given Jeffery's own background in financial services combined with the extensive history of the Rockefeller and Rothschild families in the industry, there has been some speculation that the combined entity might be looking to invest in distressed financial assets in the U.S. or Europe. Jeffery declined to answer that question other than to say that as a "general matter, investors are looking across asset classes, included credit-related opportunities."

Rockefeller & Co. was started as a single-family office by John D. Rockefeller in 1882. Over the last 35 years, it has opened its doors to a variety of families, trusts, foundations and endowments and currently has about $34 billion under advisement.

-Evan Simonoff