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.
Treasury Partners is an independent RIA within the larger multioffice, multicustodian HighTower, and its history is that of a brokerage team from a wirehouse seeking both independence and support from HighTower.
Says managing principal Richard Saperstein, “Treasury Partners was originally formed when I was at Oppenheimer.” There, in 1988, he began to build the team that would eventually become Treasury Partners. When Oppenheimer sold its private client business in 2003, Saperstein and his team “migrated to Bear Stearns, and after JPMorgan rescued Bear Stearns, we spun out in May of ’09 to HighTower.” HighTower itself, a multioffice RIA, has brought in a number of big names who went in search of independence from the wirehouse model.
“From an investment and client service standpoint, we operate within the confines of the Hightower structure,” Saperstein explains. “HighTower provides all the back office support we need to run the business, which includes legal, compliance, HR, payroll, benefits, desktop support, etc.”
That leaves Treasury Partners free to do what it does best. “Because we don’t originate any product or sell research or have competing sets of clients,” Saperstein says, “we are completely unconflicted. We have an open architecture platform, don’t represent any particular product or service, don’t inventory any securities, so we’re inherently free of any conflicts and answer only to our clients, not to any profit centers within the firm.”
Saperstein says that 2008 “really did a lot of things to everyone in the business, and in particular it highlighted the value of prudent diversification. So, effectively, there is diversification among asset classes, and then within an asset class, diversification among securities. Those [firms] that did not fully execute suffered within that ’08 period.”
The second issue brought to the fore in 2008, he says, was “an unprecedentedly high correlation among asset classes.” Taking both of those factors into consideration, he says, “we clearly demonstrated that we properly diversified client portfolios and securities.” The heightened correlations also led the firm “to re-evaluate all correlations of asset classes, and in doing so we wound up adjusting all client asset allocations to take into consideration the new correlations.”
He continues, “In the ’80s and ’90s we were taught to buy large-cap, mid-cap, international, REITs, emerging markets, and ultimately if you diversify you’ll have lower portfolio risk. But a funny thing happened in ’08,” he says, “where everything went down. Diversification didn’t really provide the perceived benefits of the different asset classes.”
Based on that, Treasury Partners re-evaluated the correlations of all asset classes, so that now the firm builds portfolios “specifically to guard against heightened correlations and the downside risk when everyone is running for the same exit door from all the asset classes.”
Crisis Led to Referrals