The Phoenix office of GenSpring, the nation’s largest private wealth RIA, has been decimated by defections of staff as well as professionals. We reported two days ago that seven of the nine directors of GenSpring have left the firm. But now sources are saying a total of 15 staffers have defected, and 12 of them are said to have moved to a cross-town rival.
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According two individuals familiar with the situation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, 12 of the 15 staffers have moved to TFO Phoenix.
Asked to confirm the number of staffers his firm has hired from GenSpring, Christopher E. Erblich, President of TFO Phoenix, said “I wish GenSpring all the best, and I have a lot of respect for them and what they do.”
Charles Kaufman, a spokesman for GenSpring, refused to comment.
Founded in 1989, GenSpring Family Offices manages about $20 billion for about 700 ultra-high-net worth families. In 2001, GenSpring became affiliated with SunTrust Bank.
GenSpring has established a presence in cities across the country over the past few years by acquiring private wealth management firms. Headquartered in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, GenSpring has 14 local family offices in Atlanta, Charlotte, Costa Mesa, Denver, Greenwich, New York City, Miami, Orlando, Palm Beach, Tampa Bay, Sarasota, and Washington, DC as well as Phoenix.
In January 2008, GenSpring acquired Inlign Wealth Management and that’s the acquisition that has gone awry.
Sources say philosophical differences between GenSpring and the Phoenix office arose over portfolio management decisions. The advisors from Inlign had for years used strategic asset allocation focused largely on passive index funds and ETFs, while GenSpring’s Palm Beach Gardens homes office was more active and tactical in its approach. The role of the headquarters in decisions about investing on behalf of clients of advisors in the Phoenix office increasingly became a point of contention between the home office and the local office, sources said.
Last April, Jean L. P. Brunel, managing principal of Brunel Associates, a firm offering wealth management consulting services to ultra affluent individuals, was named chief investment office by GenSpring. Brunel, who had formerly served as chief investment officer of J.P. Morgan’s global private bank, is the editor of Journal of Wealth Management and the 2011 recipient of the C. Stewart Sheppard Award presented by the CFA Institute in recognition of outstanding contribution to continuing education in the CFA profession.