Alliance To Create $16B Heavyweight
Why would a respected wealth/asset management company-one that invests alongside its clients, sharing the risks and rewards of the approximate $12.1 billion of assets in its care-want to take on more? Why wouldn't they, if the wealth manager they could acquire had their own $4 billion of AUM from a pool of high-net-worth clients representing a choice lot of leading international families and corporations.

This was the case with Sanders Morris Harris Group Inc., based in Houston, with some 520 employees in 20 states. Sanders this week announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire a 50.1% interest in Global Financial Services L.L.C., another Houston-based wealth management firm, for an undisclosed sum. Global is headed by Robert C.A. Benjamin, Gerardo A. Chapa, and Ricardo Perusquia, who will collectively continue to own 49.9% of the firm and serve on the 16-year-old company's board of managers.

The alliance will not only benefit Global in terms of cost efficiencies, but will enable significant business growth and a broadening of the firm's investment scope, according to George L. Ball, chairman and CEO of Sanders Morris Harris Group. The scale and reach of financial services offered by Global will expand to include broader wealth management platforms, with some initiatives already underway, noted Gerardo A. Chapa, Global's managing director. Shared administrative functions with Sanders will enable Global's staff to devote more time to clients, as well, he said.

Apart from supporting and enhancing the efforts of Global Financial Services, the acquisition is said to complement the growth of Sanders' existing high-net-worth businesses, which include Edelman Financial Services. At the completion of the transaction, expected this month, the client assets of Sanders Morris Harris Group will exceed $16 billion.

In other news ...

Affluent investor confidence has risen for the third straight month, according to new data from Spectrem Group contained in its Spectrem Affluent Investor Confidence Index, which measures the investment confidence and outlook of households with $500,000 or more in investable assets. The index rose five points in November to minus eight, which moved the index from mildly bearish to neutral territory. Meanwhile, the Spectrem Millionaire Investor Confidence Index remained unchanged at zero, also a neutral reading.

A recent fundraising survey revealed "cautiously optimistic" results, according to GuideStar, which compiled Nonprofits and the Economy October 2010 in conjunction with the members of the Nonprofit Research Collaborative, a group of six organizations that serves the nonprofit sector. The proportion of participants reporting a decrease in contributions dropped from 51% in October 2009 to 37% in October. The percentage who said contributions had increased grew from 23% in October 2009 to 36% in October 2010. For further information go to

Moneta Group, a wealth management firm in Clayton, Mo., recently launched the TRO (Trust Representative Office) turnkey program-rather than rely primarily on the traditional method of generating new high-net-worth clients through referrals-and is using TRO's private-label branding option to market trust services as "Moneta Trust." For information about Moneta Group, go to Information about the TRO program-launched in 2009 by National Advisors Trust-can be found at

CFA Institute has partnered with leading industry experts to develop The Investment Management Code of Conduct for Endowments, Foundations, and Charitable Organizations. This "governance roadmap" will provide charities and endowments with a framework for establishing investment oversight practices that meet the needs of the organization, donors and beneficiaries. For further information go to

Despite modest economic and job growth, affluent investors were feeling considerably more confident about how their own investments and the broader U.S. stock market will perform over the next six months, according to a new survey by TNS, a custom research agency. The TNS Investor Confidence Index rose to 116 in October, its highest level since hitting 129 in 2007, which extends an upward trend from the mid-crisis low of 81 in October 2008. For more information go to

Fidelity Family Office Services announced that it has established an alliance with Archway Technology Partners, a global software company supporting the operations of private investment firms such as family offices and multifamily offices. Fidelity and Archway have each established a  team to help streamline  service and support for shared clients. Family offices will have access to Archway's ATWeb, a platform designed to enable family offices to  manage their business through capabilities such as multi-account aggregation and net-worth and exposure reporting. For further information go to

OneAmerica Financial Partners Inc., a network of firms headquartered in Indianapolis, has launched Premier Trust, a new trust program that targets plans with assets of $5 million and above. Premier Trust is provided through McCready and Keene Inc., the actuarial and consulting firm acquired by OneAmerica in July, and will be marketed by the sales force of American United Life Insurance Company, which is also part of the OneAmerica network.

Top executives' compensation fell in some industries and rose in others, and the median CEO of the largest companies took home almost 12 times the amount awarded to the median CEO of the smallest companies, according to The 2010 U.S. Top Executive Compensation Report released by The Conference Board. The median CEO of the largest companies (with revenues over $8 billion) was awarded $10.2 million in total compensation, almost 12 times the $877,866 of the median CEO of the smallest companies (with revenues under $90 million), according to the study. For further information go to

Nonprofit organizations have seen a slight turnaround in giving so far this year, one that mirrors the slow economic recovery, according to a new survey from the Nonprofit Research Collaborative. However, the modest rebound (37% of charities surveyed) hasn't been enough to keep up with the increased demand for services provided by the nonprofits, which have been hard hit by cuts to staff and programs. For more information go to

Bennett Freeman, senior vice president of sustainability research and policy at Calvert Investments, was honored by the Foundation for Social Change and the United Nations Office for Partnerships with the 2010 "Top Leader of Change" award in recognition of Calvert's SRI leadership and his contributions to corporate responsibility and sustainability.

Dallas-based Generational Equity, an advisor to privately held and family-owned businesses for mergers, acquisitions, strategic growth initiatives, business valuation and exit planning, has announced that four of its managing directors were named finalists at the 9th Annual M&A Advisor Awards. Recognized, in the Lower Middle Market Deal of the Year category, were Eric Sanderson, Tom Staszak, Don Sawyer and Stephen Crisham.

Atlantic Trust, the private wealth management division of Invesco Ltd., has combined its two New York City offices into a central location at 1177 Avenue of the Americas-a move that is said to better enable the firm to serve its growing list of affluent clients. Previously, Atlantic Trust occupied space in 50 Rockefeller Plaza and 1330 Avenue of Americas. The company had $3.5 billion in AUM as of October 31.


The J.P.Morgan SMid Cap Conference will be held December 2 & 3 at the J.P.Morgan Conference Center, 383 Madison Ave. in New York City. For information e-mail [email protected].

William Blair & Company's inaugural Global Services Growth Stock Conference will be held December 7 & 8 at Four Seasons Scottsdale at Troon North in Scottsdale, Ariz. For conference information e-mail [email protected].

The Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Macro Research team will be holding its CIO Macro Conference: 2011 Year-Ahead on December 7 at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Financial Centre in London. For information contact the conference manager, Georgina Mellings, at +44 (0)20 7996 3573 or [email protected].

On December 7, Bank of America Merrill Lynch will be hosting New China IPO Corporate Day at the JW Marriott Hotel in Hong Kong. The conference will feature senior management of companies with major operations in China that have recently completed their IPOs. For information contact the event manager, Angela Tam, at +852 2536 3376 or [email protected].

The EDHEC-Risk Institutional Days Conference, scheduled for December 8 & 9 in Monaco, will focus on the needs of wealth managers. Topics include passive investment vehicles, and the transfer and adaptation of institutional investment techniques to private wealth management. For more information contact Séverine Anjubault at [email protected] or visit the EDHEC Risk Institute Web site,

On The Move

HighTower, an open-source, advisor-owned financial services company based in Chicago that serves high-net-worth and institutional clients, has expanded to New York City through a new advisor team, The Morgia Group. The Group is led by founder Tony Morgia, who previously was at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney and is now a managing director and partner at HighTower. Michael Morgia and Philip Banazek also joined HighTower from MSSB as managing directors and partners, and Mark Banazek joined as a financial advisor. Drew Kornreich continues as HighTower's president.

Wermuth Asset Management, an alternative investments advisory based in Germany whose clients include high-net-worth individuals and family offices, has appointment Maarten van den Belt as partner and CEO for the firm's business in Russia, where van den Belt has worked in senior positions for more than 12 years.

Baird, a wealth management, capital markets, private equity and asset management firm with offices in Iowa, has acquired a new financial advisor, The Stuck Layman Rose Group, and opened a new wealth management office in Sioux City, Iowa. The group includes senior vice presidents Mark D. Stuck, Jay D. Layman, Gail M. Bivens-Rose, and Barbara J. Graham, a client relationship associate.

EisnerLubin llp, a certified public accounting and consulting firm, has moved its Manhattan headquarters from 444 Madison Ave. to larger offices at 1411 Broadway. The firm has also recently become an independent member of Geneva Group International (GGI), a worldwide alliance of law, accounting, audit, management consulting and trust firms. EisnerLubin's services include trust and estate planning and family wealth.

Wilshire Private Markets, a business unit of Wilshire Associates of Santa Monica, Calif, has appointed Gary Gabriel, former head of Private Markets at Future Fund Management Agency, as managing director responsible for the Asia-Pacific region and head of Wilshire's Canberra, Australia, office.

Mercer, an alternative investment firm based in New York City and a wholly owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies Inc., will be acquiring Hammond Associates, an investment consulting firm that serves endowments and foundations in the U.S. The acquisition is expected to boost Mercer's investment consulting capabilities for endowments, foundations, and the private wealth and health care markets, according to the company. The transaction is expected to close at the end of this year.

Canaccord Financial Inc., which focuses on wealth management and global capital markets, has expanded into Asia with the acquisition of The Balloch Group, a boutique Chinese investment bank, and a strategic agreement with the Export-Import Bank of China. Canaccord's operations in China will be branded Canaccord Genuity Asia and will, among other things, provide advisory services to businesses in the region.

-Cort Smith