London-headquartered Stanhope Capital Group and US-based FWM Holdings have entered into a merger agreement to create one of the world’s largest independent wealth management and advisory firms.
After the deal is completed, the joint business will oversee $24.2bn (£18.1bn, €20.4bn) in client assets and have 135 employees operating in six offices worldwide.
The combined company will have an expanded geographic footprint across the US and Europe, as well as a global investment team leveraging its capabilities across multiple asset classes, including listed equities and alternatives.
Upon closing of the transaction, Stanhope Capital and FWM will operate as a single company for “all intents and purposes, particularly in the area of investment research and strategy”, but they will retain their respective names under the Stanhope Capital Group umbrella.
The management of FWM will receive Stanhope Capital shares as part of the deal.
The merger is expected to close in the first quarter of 2021 and financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Founded in 2004 by Franco-British financier Daniel Pinto, Stanhope Capital currently oversees $13bn for private clients, endowments, charities and other institutions across the globe.
The firm, which employs 85 people from its offices in London, Geneva and Paris, is active in wealth management, investment consulting, private investments and merchant banking.
Founded in 2009 by Keith Bloomfield, FWM currently oversees $11.2bn for ultra-high net worth family offices and individuals, foundations and endowments located primarily in the US from offices in New York City, Philadelphia and Palm Beach.
In addition to its wealth management activities, FWM, which employs 50 people, is has an alternative assets operation after acquiring New York-based hedge fund specialist Optima Fund Management in 2019.
FWM also receives backing from Wealth Partners Capital Group, which is a financial services holding company, that provides capital and strategic support to registered investment adviser (RIA) firms in the US.
Pinto, who will be chairman and chief executive of the combined group on deal completion, said “This is a unique opportunity to create a truly global investment firm around the three core values which have defined our respective businesses since inception.
“Firstly, independence, which gives clients the assurance of conflict-free advice provided by true fiduciaries. Second, alignment of interests between clients and talented professionals who invest their personal wealth alongside them, a rare thing in our industry today.
“Lastly, creative thinking, based on an investment platform designed to give clients the flexibility to combine liquid, well-diversified portfolios with exciting opportunities in private equity, real estate and hedge funds. These key principles have been the pillars of our success to date and they will continue to carry us forward as a group.”
Bloomfield, who will continue as chief executive of FWM responsible for running the firm’s US businesses, added: “It was mission critical that our clients be the prime beneficiaries of any business combination – and we are confident that this combination accomplishes that mission.
“The cultural, philosophical and investment fit between the two businesses are truly exceptional. As well as increasing our geographic scope, the merger will further enhance the combined firms’ investment capabilities in both public and private markets, with clients benefitting from local access to investment opportunities sourced by dedicated teams based in several of the world’s top financial centres.”
Bloomfield will join Stanhope Capital’s board of directors as vice chairman as well as the group’s executive committee.
He will be joined on the board by Thomas Lee, the private equity pioneer.
Jonathan Bell, Stanhope’s chief investment officer and a member of the board, will also become vice chairman.