Wilmington Trust seeks wealthy clients through hires, acquisitions

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Wilmington Trust, the wealth management arm of M&T Bank, is extending its hiring spree and considering acquisitions of RIAs.

Wilmington is open to “targeted” purchases of RIAs in key markets, though it’s not currently in talks with specific firms, said Doris Meister, the company’s head of wealth management. It also plans to expand services to rich clients by doubling the number of its advisors over the next three to four years, focusing on staff who will cater to more diverse customers, including women and minority business owners.

“We’ve laid the foundation — we can really grow and scale our business,” Meister, who’s been in the wealth industry for more than two decades, said in an interview. “We needed people who were very client-oriented, can build great teams and know how to build a great business.”

The company hired a dozen people and promoted employees in the past year as part of a push in key markets. Senior executives, advisors and strategists were added to expand services for wealthy clients in Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Los Angeles and New Jersey, it said in a statement Monday. It also promoted 10 wealth advisors from within.

“A number of professionals in the business are really tired of working for huge organizations,” said Doris Meister, Wilmington Trust’s head of wealth management.
“A number of professionals in the business are really tired of working for huge organizations,” said Doris Meister, Wilmington Trust’s head of wealth management.

The hires include:

  • Garrett Alton, wealth market leader for Atlanta. Alton, who has more than two decades of experience in the sector, joined from BNY Mellon Wealth Management.
  • Dave D’Amico, wealth market leader for Boston. He has worked in investment management for more than three decades.
  • Lisa Ligas, director of wealth strategies in Los Angeles. She was formerly a senior vice president at Northern Trust.
  • Merryll McElwain, senior wealth advisor in Los Angeles. Like Alton, she previously worked at BNY Mellon.
  • Tony Rogers, senior wealth advisor in New Jersey, and also a BNY Mellon alum.
  • Aimee Turner, senior family wealth advisor in Philadelphia. She is rejoining the company after 19 years with Wilmington previously.
  • Robert Whelan, senior wealth adviser in Boston. He previously oversaw Lido Advisors’ office in the city.
  • Scott Wilkins, senior wealth advisor in Atlanta. Wilkins was formerly managing partner and owner of Cielo Partners.

Wilmington is focused on deepening its links to large, wealthy families with complex finances. It’s also boosting offerings for women, whose control of U.S. financial assets is forecast to rise in the coming decades. To serve those clients, the company plans to keep adding to its ranks.

RIA Leaders 2020: Top 15 firms ranked by AUM
These firms oversee more than $185 billion in combined assets.

“A number of professionals in the business are really tired of working for huge organizations,” Meister said. “That’s been a major selling point for us — we have top talent, we have great people, but we’re also a size where you can personally relate to each other.”

Bloomberg News
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