p>Moss adams, the well-known financial consult-ing firm, defines the median elite advisory firm as one with $127.5 million in assets under management. Offit Hall Capital Management, with some $9.5 billion in assets and an average client account size of more than $150 million, is already far above elite status. And it is barely a month old.
Based in San Francisco and New York, Offit Hall is the result of a union between two of the nation’s most prominent names in high-net-worth money management: Morris W. Offit, 65, the founder and former chairman of Offitbank, and Kathryn A. Hall, 44, a former hedge fund executive whose RIA firm, Laurel Management Company, has catered to wealthy individuals since 1994.
I spoke with the two partners the other day in their first extensive interview since launching their new firm. They told me that like many advisory firms, Offit Hall, which starts life with Laurel’s 60 existing clients, won’t manage money itself. Instead, says Offit, it will function as an independent “chief investment officer” for clients, setting long-term asset allocation strategies and selecting and monitoring managers who carry them out. “We have an integrated perspective,” adds Hall, whom everyone around her San Francisco office calls Katie. “That means tax and estate planning, philanthropic goals, cash flow management, and steering family decision-making.”
How Offit and Hall came together is one of those quirks of fate. Around two years ago, Offit sold his $11 billion trust bank to Wachovia Corp. for $200 million in stock. He became a Wachovia director and stayed on as CEO of New York-based Offitbank. But he was forced out of both posts last year after he opposed a merger offer for Wachovia from SunTrust Banks Inc. over an existing plan to merge with First Union Corp.
As he evaluated his next possible move, Offit was drawn to Hall, with whom he already shared several clients (some Offit Hall clients continue to use Offitbank to manage assets). “When we were sitting around the table, a collective light went off,” Hall recalls. “We had so much in common. And we both believe there is a need for independent, objective advice.”