Boston Private Wealth named a 12-year industry veteran as its next chief investment officer, the first woman to hold the seat, according to a firm spokeswoman.

Shannon Saccocia will construct the overall investment policy and direct investment strategy for the firm. She replaces Tom Anderson, who held a dual role as CIO and COO and now focuses solely on operating responsibilities, the company says.

Shannon Saccocia Boston Private Wealth IAG
“Today is poised to become a great period for women in the industry,” says Boston Private Wealth CIO Shannon Saccocia.
“Today is poised to become a great period for women in the industry,” says Boston Private Wealth CIO Shannon Saccocia.

In her most recent role as chief investment strategist, Saccocia spearheaded an effort to develop a new organizational structure for the investment team at Boston Private Wealth, along with new strategies that led to a strong first quarter performance. The firm’s wealth management segment increased assets under management 8% year over year to $7.83 billion in the first quarter.

Saccocia began her foray into wealth management 12 years ago after a career in investment management with State Street, where she provided performance analysis for institutional investors.

“Going from the pre-financial crisis world to seeing the impact that the markets can have on wealth and what it really means to be a market participant was a huge growth experience for me,” Saccocia says. “I wanted to be part of a client-focused culture.”

She became director of manager search and selection for Silver Bridge Advisors in 2006, which was later acquired by Banyan Partners in 2013, per FINRA BrokerCheck records. Boston Private Wealth acquired Banyan Partners in 2014.

While the firm names have changed, her team has remained consistent, Saccocia says. “I’ve been through multiple firm transitions at this point, which gave me the opportunity to essentially reinvent myself and my career,” she says.

Both Saccocia and Anderson will report directly to Scott Dell’Orfano, president of Boston Private Wealth.

Saccocia says she never felt personally hindered by her gender and described the firm’s culture as “inclusive,” but she acknowledges the need for greater opportunities for women advisors in the industry. Women make up just 21% of c-suite executives spanning all industries, according to a 2017 study by McKinsey & Company.

“If you’re not given an avenue to prove yourself, then effort and skill set will only go so far,” Saccocia says.

Bridging the gender gap will benefit firms and clients alike, she says.

“If you look at the demographic trend, there are more and more women who are going to be financial decision-makers over the next decade,” Saccocia says, adding that she is looking forward to "a great period for women in the industry.”

Sean Allocca

Sean Allocca is an associate editor of Financial Planning, On Wall Street and Bank Investment Consultant.