Money goes to money — as the brand-new merger of a big, high-profile family office with a large wealth management firm proves.
Total assets under advisement: $2.65 billion.
The principals have been friends for more than 20 years but have never conducted business with one another — now they’re in business with one another.
The family office is William E. Simon & Sons (WESS), founded by the late William E. Simon, former Treasury secretary under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. The advisory firm is Massey Quick & Co., specializing in investment advice for high-net-worth families, endowments and foundations.
ThinkAdvisor recently interviewed Massey Quick Simon & Co. managing partners Stewart Massey, Leslie Quick and Peter Simon for a glimpse at why they opted to merge and how the new firm will work.
Prior to the merger, effective April 1, AUM of advisory firm Massey Quick was $1.93 billion, according to financial technology website Credio.
Scions Peter Simon and his brother Bill Simon, WESS co-chairs, bring to the party an extensive network of well-heeled business and philanthropic friends and contacts from the for-profit and nonprofit worlds. For WESS, the merger means that it can now make available to the public services previously provided only in managing its private family office assets.
Further benefits to Massey Quick: the RIA can leverage the Simons’ expertise in areas such as capital markets, real estate, private equity and venture capital.
Leslie Quick, 64, began his career in 1975 with discount broker Quick and Reilly, becoming a key member of the management team that developed the firm’s branch network, started and grew a major clearing firm and built one of the first internet trading platforms.
Stewart Massey, 60, led Morgan Stanley’s private client business in Asia and Australia, and was later head of institutional sales, marketing and product development for the firm’s prime brokerage business.
Peter Simon, 63, was with Kidder Peabody from 1977 to 1988. After rising to managing director of convertible securities, he and older brother Bill joined their father in managing the family assets.
Bill Simon, 65, ran for California governor in 2002, losing to incumbent Gray Davis. Previously, he was assistant U.S. attorney under U.S. Attorney Rudolph Giuliani.
To pop another boldface name into the mix, WESS also manages the assets of a certain three-time Academy Award winner. She is the ex-sister-in-law of a divorced Simon sibling but has remained close with the Simon family for more than 25 years. The New York Times and other publications identify her as actress Meryl Streep.
Massey Quick Simon will serve high-net-worth and ultra-high net worth clients, family offices, endowments and foundations, as has Massey Quick since its 2004 inception. The merged firm is headquartered in Morristown, New Jersey, where both MQ and WESS have been based. They plan to occupy joint office space in the not-too-distant future.
William E. Simon, who died in 2002, was an advocate of the free market system. He started out trading big bond portfolios at Salomon Bros in the 1960s. After government service, he co-founded Wesray Capital Corp., a private equity firm pioneering in leveraged buyouts. Later, he invested heavily in real estate and founded a merchant bank with sons Bill and Peter.
ThinkAdvisor recently interviewed Peter Simon, Leslie Quick and Stewart Massey by phone to learn how legacy planning on a mega-high level has largely guided a decision to merge two big RIAs. Here are excerpts from our conversation:
THINKADVISOR: Why did you decide to join forces?
PETER SIMON: One of my real motivations for doing this merger is to make sure there’s a firm behind me that has the leadership and strength of forethought that can serve the needs of our eight families that we take care of — [including] my five sisters and one client that was related by marriage; the marriage ended. I’m almost 64; my brother bill is 65. We plan on working, but now I know I have a responsible structure that will succeed me.
The Simons’ experience in capital markets, real estate, private equity and venture capital is “a tremendous asset” to Massey Quick, you say in a statement. Please elaborate.
LESLIE QUICK: It brings more firepower in considering investments and in making sure we’re looking at all the aspects of a manager we’re considering investing with. It brings another level of expertise to us as an investment team.
The core of the Simon family’s wealth comes from the work and investments of William E. Simon. What was the secret to his success, Mr. Simon?
SIMON: First, he was a very hard worker. Second, he was willing to make decisions with about 50% of the information. He had a wonderful acumen for how things were going directionally. Third, it was [always] a matter of trusting the people that he was dealing with.
How else does the merger benefit Massey Quick?
QUICK: Our ability to serve the needs of ultra-high net worth and high-net-worth clients is enhanced. We’re investing $150 million of our own money, and the Simons are investing their own money side by side with clients.