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Financial Planning > Trusts and Estates > Trust Planning

Fiduciary Trust Nabs $6B RIA Athena Capital Advisors

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Franklin Resources subsidiary Fiduciary Trust Co. International is acquiring Lincoln, Massachusetts-based RIA Athena Capital Advisors, which has assets under management of about $6 billion, according to the firms.

The merger transaction will expand Fiduciary Trust’s offerings, “further diversifying the firm’s investment solutions for meeting the evolving needs of high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth clients,” it said Tuesday.

The acquisition is expected to close by March 31, the end of the second quarter of fiscal 2020 for Franklin Resources, which operates as Franklin Templeton, it said. Once completed, Fiduciary Trust will have AUM of about $25 billion, it said. As of Sept. 30, the firm had $75 billion combined in AUM and assets under administration.

Once the deal is completed, “Athena professionals will be integrated into Fiduciary Trust,” according to John M. Dowd, Fiduciary Trust CEO. “The plan is to operate under a single brand — Fiduciary Trust” — going forward, he told ThinkAdvisor, adding: “Fiduciary recognizes that Athena has built a strong reputation in the impact investing space and will consider how to best leverage its brand name recognition when promoting our combined capabilities.”

Headcount reductions aren’t anticipated following the transaction, he also said. “The goal is to combine Athena with Fiduciary in a way that benefits everyone — employees, clients and shareholders — with as little disruption as possible,” he said, adding: “The two firms are working closely to finalize integration plans, which includes retaining the best talent across both firms. Most of Athena’s employees are based in Massachusetts, and there are no immediate plans for office relocations at this time. Athena professionals will be integrated into Fiduciary Trust and our immediate focus is the successful transition of employees into the organization. Staff working in Athena’s New York office will relocate to Fiduciary Trust’s headquarters at 280 Park Avenue. Athena will establish a market structure for Fiduciary Trust in Massachusetts.”

Athena has about 50 employees and, following the merger, the combined company will have a total of more than 450 employees, he said. The purchase price and other terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Athena was started in 1993 by Lisette Cooper. Its capabilities include building diversified portfolios via an “endowment style of investing, as well as impact investing, outsourced chief investment officer services” and family office support services, according to Franklin.

“Lisette has built an impressive team, and I look forward to working with them to help clients of both organizations reach their long-term goals,” according to Dowd.

“Athena Capital brings enhanced investment research, manager selection, and due diligence that will complement and strengthen our existing strategic advisory services,” he said in a statement. Athena is a “pioneer in the field of impact investing, working with clients to align their investment portfolios with their social and mission-based values,” he noted, adding Athena’s suburban Boston location “deepens our reach in the New England area, increasing the breadth and depth of our offering and enhancing the value we can bring to clients of both firms.”

The merger with Fiduciary Trust represents an “ideal pairing” for Athena and “we’re eager to integrate our expertise so we can provide our collective client base with a full suite of offerings to meet the changing long-term needs of individuals, foundations and endowments,” according to Cooper, Athena’s managing partner and chief investment officer.

Goodwin Procter served as legal counsel to Fiduciary Trust and Franklin Templeton, while Raymond James | Silver Lane served as Athena’s financial advisor on the transaction and Holland & Knight served as its legal advisor.

— Check out RIAs Look to 2020, Say ‘Bring It On’ on ThinkAdvisor.


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