Stanhope Capital Group and FWM Holdings merge to form USD24.2bn wealth management 'giant'

Deal

Stanhope Capital Group (Stanhope Capital) and FWM – owner of Forbes Family Trust, LGL Partners and Optima Fund Management (collectively FWM) – have entered into a definitive merger agreement to create one of the world’s largest independent wealth management and advisory firms, overseeing USD24.2 billion in client assets with 135 employees operating in six offices worldwide.

The combined company will have an expanded geographic footprint across the US and Europe, with a greatly enhanced global investment team leveraging its capabilities across multiple asset classes, including listed equities and alternatives (private equity, real estate and hedge funds). 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.
 
Founded in 2004 by Franco-British financier Daniel Pinto, Stanhope Capital currently oversees USD13 billion 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 USD11.2 billion 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 a recognised leader in alternative assets, having acquired New York-based hedge fund specialist Optima Fund Management in 2019.
 
Daniel Pinto, who will be Chairman and CEO of the combined group on closing of the transaction, says: “We are delighted to welcome Keith and his colleagues to the Stanhope Capital family. 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.”
 
Keith Bloomfield, who will continue as CEO of FWM responsible for running the firm’s US businesses, adds: “I am very excited about joining forces with Daniel and the team at Stanhope Capital. 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 (“the Board”) as Vice Chairman as well as the group’s executive committee. He will be joined on the Board by Thomas H Lee, the private equity pioneer. Jonathan Bell, Stanhope’s Chief Investment Officer and a member of the Board, will also become Vice Chairman. P Scott Gregorchuk, Founder of LGL Partners, will continue as Vice Chairman of FWM.
 
In the context of the transaction, the management of FWM will receive Stanhope Capital shares as part of the consideration.

John Copeland, Managing Partner of Wealth Partners Capital Group, investor in FWM, says: “We have had the privilege of working closely with Keith and his partners over the last few years to help them build FWM into one of the premier wealth management businesses in the US. I am convinced we could not have found a better partner than Stanhope Capital and are proud to have played a role in the merger between the two firms.”
 
The merger is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2021. Financial and legal terms of the transaction will not be disclosed.
 

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