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Industry Spotlight > Mergers and Acquisitions

IQ-EQ to Acquire $1.9B Private Wealth Firm in South Dakota

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What You Need to Know

  • The acquisition of Concord Trust Co. will mark IQ-EQ's entry into the U.S. private wealth market.
  • This is the latest step in the U.S. growth strategy of IQ-EQ, which has about $500B in AUA.
  • Luxembourg-based IQ-EQ already has an established position in the European private wealth market.

The global investor services firm IQ-EQ is entering the U.S. private wealth market by signing a deal to acquire Concord Trust Co., a company with $1.9 billion in assets under management.

The strategic acquisition is part of IQ-EQ’s growing U.S. operations and follows its purchase of the alternative asset service provider Blue River Partners last June and Constellation Advisers, an investment management consultancy, in January.

Concord focuses on open-architecture, high-end professional independent trustee services and related administration and compliance services. It was founded in 2011 by Christopher “Chip” Martin, its president. Andrew Powell serves as Concord’s chief operating officer. Concord is based in South Dakota and also has offices in New Hampshire.

The transaction remains subject to regulatory approval from the South Dakota Division of Banking, said IQ-EQ, which is based in Luxembourg and owned by Astorg, a private equity firm with more than 10 billion euros (about $11.9 billion) in AUM. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Following the completion of the acquisition and the merger of the two companies, IQ-EQ will have a global workforce of more than 3,400 people, including 331 U.S.-based employees and global assets under administration of more than $500 billion, it said.

The purchase will provide IQ-EQ with a “well-established entry point to promote” its global private wealth business to the U.S. market, it said. The acquisition will also give IQ-EQ “access to the well-established advantages of New Hampshire’s and South Dakota’s progressive and robust trust, regulatory and tax laws along with a strong judicial framework and access to local talent and good relative geographic proximity to key hubs in the U.S.,” it said.

Concord also “successfully leverages technology and has developed proprietary data aggregation and custodial mapping processes to improve efficiencies and scale operations,” according to IQ-EQ. Concord’s employees are located across its two offices in New Hampshire and South Dakota.

The acquisition will also bring IQ-EQ “one step closer to achieving its strategic objective of becoming the leading independent investor services provider globally,” it said.

Once the purchase is completed, Mark Fordyce will assume overall responsibility for the group’s expanded U.S. operations. Concord’s management team of Martin and Powell will continue in their existing roles. Martin will also join IQ-EQ’s global private wealth leadership committee, which is led by Steve Sokić, group head of private wealth.

“As part of our wider group strategy we’re committed to continuing to build IQ-EQ’s reputation as the leading global provider of independent trustee services, as well as outsource partner of choice for other administrative, reporting and compliance services” to ultra-high-net-worth families, executives, entrepreneurs and their family offices, according to Sokić.

Work to rebrand the Concord business to IQ-EQ will start once regulatory approval for the acquisition is received, it said. Until then, the business will continue to be promoted in the U.S. under the Concord brand name, IQ-EQ added.

“IQ-EQ brings expertise and added resources that will help Concord Trust further support our clients and employees, and keep us on our successful growth path,” Martin said. “I believe their model of providing independent and complementary fiduciary and related administration services to clients’ trusted investment, legal and estate planning advisors matches well with our independent professional trustee model,” he said in a statement.