Thomas J. Clarke, Jr. has been around the wealth management business for a long time, mainly as a news publisher and consultant.

After joining Weiss Group as chief executive officer last week, he gets to have direct hands-on experience in expanding a wealth management firm, where he sees big opportunities for growth.

The Jupiter, Fla.-based Weiss Group holds three operations, which includes Weiss Capital Management, a fee-based registered investment advisory firm that oversees $350 million in discretionary and non-discretionary assets for individuals, businesses, trusts and charities. Clarke is also a seasoned, self-directed investor, so he knows a good opportunity when he sees one.

“If you look at what investors are doing, they are leaving the wirehouses,” Clarke said in a phone interview on Tuesday. “We can fit that bill and then some.”

The job is an auspicious one for Clarke. He was CEO of TheStreet.com [TSCM] when, in 2006, he oversaw the digital media organization’s purchase of independent rating agency Weiss Ratings. But as the economic downturn set in, the company shied away from exploring acquisitions among personal finance and other types of financial services companies, Clarke said. So he left.
Shortly before Clarke resigned as TheStreet.com’s CEO last March, Weiss Group also bought back its old ratings group, which generates revenue from retail and institutional user subscriptions.

After leaving TheStreet.com, Clarke worked as a consultant to wealth advisory companies, and was an angel investor for Internet start-ups. When the chance to head up Weiss Group came along, Clarke did not hesitate to accept.

“The timing couldn’t be better for Tom Clarke to lead our company, applying his many years of experience and clear strategic vision toward the goal of helping millions of investors in the U.S. and overseas,” said Martin D. Weiss, chairman of the board of directors.

Weiss founded the company in 1971 and will remain as its chairman and editor of its largest circulation investment newsletter, Money and Markets. Aside from the asset management group and the ratings group, it operates Weiss Research, which publishes other investment newsletters including, Safe Money Report, Uncommon Wisdom and Real Wealth Report. 

Clarke said he sees possibilities in Weiss Research, too, which aims to empower investors to make sound decisions with independent and strategic information. “With tools and applications in the marketplace today, investors can be more empowered,” Clarke said. “There are a lot of ways to do that.”