London-based Campden Media, which offers publications, research, conferences and networking to ultra-high-net-worth families in the U.S. and Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Russia, has acquired the Institute for Private Investors (IPI), which serves a similar, but more U.S.-based membership and is based in New York. The combined firms “will link financial and business-owning families around the world, representing over $200 billion in assets,” according to an announcement on Tuesday.

Terms were not disclosed. Campden serves the wealth and healthcare markets, providing publications, events and research. IPI serves wealthy investors and families, providing education, conferences and networking opportunities for members.

Making It Safe for Families to Talk

When she founded IPI, 21 years ago, there was “not an organization doing anything quite like this,” linking  “ultra-high-net-worth investors together like a peer group,” IPI’s Founder and CEO, Charlotte Beyer, told AdvisorOne in an exclusive interview by phone from her Manhattan office. Two key principles for IPI have always been “how to protect families—make it safe to talk with other families—and how to make it intimate.” 

Beyer will continue to run IPI as a separate brand, and Campden’s Managing Director for North America, Mindy Rosenthal, will assume the responsibilities of outgoing IPI President Kristi Kuechler, who has resigned, according to the release.

While there is some overlap in membership between the two organizations’ families, Beyer says that, “only 10% [of IPI’s] membership is global families.”

There are three key benefits that the combination of the two organizations bring to members, says Beyer: First, “most of IPI members are not currently business owners,” Beyer explains; they’ve sold those businesses already. For IPI members who do currently own businesses, Campden’s events for business owners and members who are business owners will be a great help, in fostering discussions about business-ownership issues.

Second, the “research capability” that IPI has will expand with the ability to obtain “robust data on a bigger group,” Beyer asserts. Families voluntarily participate in IPI’s research surveys.

Third, Beyer says, IPI’s “online community” will expand, with additional ‘qualified’ members. That qualification is a crucial element because asking questions in this qualified peer group means that families aren’t subject to answers from persons who might prey on wealthy families. It’s unique, Beyer says—there’s really nowhere else where a family can “ask online, ‘Has anyone renegotiated their contract with XYZ?’ That’s enormous!”  

Correcting an ‘Underweight in the U.S’

Campden CEO John Pettifor told AdvisorOne that his firm was “underweight in the U.S relative to elsewhere in the world,” and that it had been “frustrating.” He looks forward to “inviting IPI members to Campden events overseas,” and allowing qualified Campden members “access to [IPI’s online networking community] Memberlink.”

As IPI members become more global with cross-border interests, the affiliation with Campden takes us to the next level. I am very excited to implement this next phase of our growth for the benefit of the IPI community,” stated Beyer, in the release. “Together, IPI and Campden will continue to offer a safe harbor dedicated to education and community.”

“Campden’s business and financial family community and IPI members will have enhanced opportunities to network, share and exchange information and intelligence on a global basis,” Pettifor stated in the announcement. “Our goal is to anticipate the needs of family businesses and ultra high-net-worth individuals around the world.”

IPI will “move carefully; we want members to feel comfortable with what’s offered, that it honors their safe harbor,” Rosenthal told AdvisorOne, stressing the two organizations “similar values and ethics and work with families.”