One hundred firms make up AdvisorOne’s 2012 Top Wealth Managers, as measured by assets under management per client, with data as of 12/31/11.
Here we present a profile of the crème de la crème of the Top Wealth Managers—those 10 firms that topped the list in in our 2012 survey.
View the list of all 280 firms in our 2012 Top Wealth Managers survey.
According to Steve Braverman, managing director and cofounder of Pathstone Family Office LLC, even though Pathstone itself is fairly new—formally announced just 2½ years ago—the principals have worked together, and with some clients, for years longer than that.
Pathstone is “internally multidisciplined to provide fully a integrated family office” and made up of 30 employees who serve 34 client families with an average $100 million balance sheet net worth. (In the Top Wealth Managers survey, as of Dec. 31, 2011, Pathstone reported it had 26 staffers.) Directors head such areas as tax, insurance, financial reporting, philanthropy and accounting, and seek to provide each client family with its own customized family office.
“All families are different,” he says, and despite some commonalities, each family has different critical needs. As a result, the firm classifies itself as a “single-family office for multiple families” and the principals who make up Pathstone regard the firm as a way to best serve “client families we’ve been working with for as long as 10 years, if not longer.”
‘An Accounting Firm Stapled to an RIA’
Partly as a result of the events of 2008, says Braverman, and partly as the “UHNW community has come to better understand the role that institutions, banks and others play in wealth management,” the business has grown substantially.
“We found many families becoming increasingly interested in independent advisors,” he says, “and specifically those who have formulated themselves as family offices.” Pathstone has designed itself around being “internally multidisciplined” so that it can provide a fully integrated family office to its clients.
He explains further: “We’ve made the conscious decision to internally staff the multiple disciplines that those families most appropriate for our service would have chosen, should they wanted to create their own family office.” The firm not only provides a multiplicity of services, it does so in a way to “create economies of scale” and benefit its clients “without diluting the service experience.”
As a result, he says, “We look like an accounting firm stapled to an RIA—going the extra mile to integrate the level of expertise” necessary to oblige clients. “Those families most successful with us,” says Braverman, “are those that recognize that marrying those disciplines together on a permanent basis generally allows for the best decisionmaking, problem solving and forward-thinking advocacy for the types of families we serve.”