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 Michael McCoy, senior vice president at Central, the reason the RIA exists is largely due to Bernard Madoff.
The firm is actually a department of Central Bank, a commercial bank that’s “been around for about 109 years,” but while the group has provided investment services to its clients for approximately 15 years, it’s a child of the financial meltdown. Says McCoy, “In light of Madoff, etc., we decided to register [the RIA portion with the SEC in 2009] and become a full-fledged RIA to provide a level of comfort for our customers.”
As a result, Central is considerably different from the other top firms on the list. With three principals and a client list that is made up of institutional clients such as hospitals and insurance companies that have a relationship with the bank, according to McCoy, the RIA is “just add-on services that we provide to institutional clients … It’s an investment service that all these clients of the bank need, and rather than them go elsewhere, we had the talent and expertise to help them with those functions. So we’ve been doing it at least 15 years that I know of.”
‘It was important that they have a legal structure’
Still, with scandals and financial losses littering the headlines in 2008, says McCoy, “we decided to formalize what we do by registering with the SEC. our customers didn’t necessarily ask for that,” he adds, “but we … felt like it was important that they have a legal structure they were working with.”
Despite the financial turmoil of the time, he says, the group lost no clients during the period. “They’re all institutional clients,” he says, “and to some extent understand the ups and downs of the market—although that was kind of a hundred-year event.” With the existence of the official RIA so new, after having done business for a considerable time, and with the group being so small despite managing considerable assets, a succession plan is still in the works. However, the clients don’t seem to mind.