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Rockefeller Adds $1.4B Illinois RIA

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Rockefeller Capital Management has reached an agreement to acquire Oak Brook, Illinois-based Whitnell & Co., a $1.4 billion RIA that became a subsidiary of Associated Banc-Corporation in 2017.

Whitnell is Rockefeller’s second family office acquisition to date, following the addition of Silicon Valley-based Financial Clarity in 2019. The RIA serves affluent families across the Midwest and focuses on multi-family office services that include financial planning, wealth management and generational wealth transfer.

Through a strategic partnership between Rockefeller and Associated Banc-Corp., Whitnell will become a division of the Rockefeller Family Office, while Associated Bank will become a mortgage lending referral partner of Rockefeller in the Midwest.

The full Whitnell team, including about 25 professionals, three advisor teams and three senior client advisors, will join Rockefeller as part of the deal, which Rockefeller said is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close in March. Other terms, including the price, were not disclosed.

Expansion Plans

As of Dec. 31, Rockefeller oversaw $69 billion in client assets and had 134 employees within Family Office (excluding contingent workers and interns), a company spokesperson said.

The addition of Whitnell is part of the firm’s ongoing goal of expanding its presence in the Midwest after opening its first Chicago-based private wealth management office in late October with the addition of CM Private Wealth, which included two advisors and about $550 million in client assets.

“Conversations around a partnership began in the second half of 2020 around the opportunity for a larger partnership between Rockefeller and Associated Bank,” the spokesperson said.

“The Midwest is a key region for our national expansion, as our footprint continues to geographically align with where Americans build businesses and create wealth,” according to Timothy O’Hara, president of the Family Office at Rockefeller Capital Management.

“The Family Office has plans to continue growth in 2021 in key regions where we see opportunity to provide ultra-high net worth individuals with Rockefeller-caliber services,” he told ThinkAdvisor Wednesday.

“We are interested in expanding in Texas, Florida, Southern California and potentially other locations that geographically align with where Americans build businesses and create wealth,” he said.

“However, our priority is to identify the right individuals and teams who support our planning-led focus, experience and expertise, offerings, and solutions to create a seamless Rockefeller experience across our Family Office footprint.”

More Whitnell Details

“The Whitnell team’s planning-led focus, extensive experience, scope of services and location make it an excellent addition to our Family Office,” according to O’Hara.

Whitnell was founded in 1988 by Donald P. Kelly, Bill White and Mike Brunell. Its current executive team includes Wayne Janus, president of financial planning and David Peckenpaugh, chief investment officer and senior vice president.

See: Record Number of RIA M&A Deals in Fourth Quarter of 2020


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