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Eaton Vance Wealth Unit Wraps Up Purchase of $2.3B RIA

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Eaton Vance’s wealth management affiliate has completed its acquisition of the $2.3 billion assets of WaterOak Advisors, a Winter Park, Florida-based wealth management firm.

On a combined basis, Eaton Vance Investment Counsel and WaterOak — now operating as Eaton Vance WaterOak Advisors — have a total of $11.4 billion of client assets. (As of April 30, Eaton Vance Investment Counsel served as an advisor for $8.2 billion in assets for families, endowments, foundations and others entities.)

The news comes roughly a month after Morgan Stanley said it was buying the asset manager, which had consolidated client assets of $517 billion as of Sept. 30.

Prior to the deal, the Eaton Vance wealth unit had 20 advisors and WaterOak had seven. Thus, Eaton Vance WaterOak Advisors now has 27, the asset manager said Tuesday.

WaterOak’s team is led by L. Clarke Lemons, its founder and president; Stephen Curley, director of investment strategy; and Scott Macaione, head of advisory services.

The addition of WaterOak “expands our capabilities and extends our geographic reach to better serve clients in the Southeast,” according to David McCabe, president of Eaton Vance WaterOak.

In announcing the signing of a definitive agreement to buy the assets of WaterOak on July 1, Eaton Vance Investment Counsel said the Florida firm, founded in 2006 by Lemons, had about $2 billion of client assets. Terms were not disclosed.

“Morgan Stanley recognizes that Eaton Vance WaterOak Advisors is a critical and strategic asset and will support our great work on behalf of our clients following the closing of the acquisition of Eaton Vance by Morgan Stanley, which … is expected to occur in the second quarter of 2021,” McCabe said in a statement.

“When we announced the WaterOak deal in July, the goal was to bring the intimate scale of a boutique wealth advisor together with the resources of a leading global asset manager together,” he added. “The Morgan Stanley news only serves to enhance this combination, as the resources Eaton Vance WaterOak Advisors will have access to grow once we are under the Morgan Stanley umbrella … .”