Forbes magazine recently printed a list of the wealthiest 400 families in America. Wealth management company Wilmington Trust Corp. is doing business with one third of them. Now, Wilmington is turning its attention to private equity through a new partnership with Baltimore-based Camden Partners Holdings LLC in order to further capitalize on its long-term objective: providing its clients with the best wealth management services it can find.
“What this means is, going into various markets and purchasing, or taking an interest in, best-in-asset-class managers, to give us the full array of products,” said Thomas Finney, who has been named managing director of Camden Private Equity Advisors (CPEA) in the BaltimoreWashington, D.C. area, where the new partnership is setting up shop.
Camden Partners is a diversified private equity firm with more than $200 million under management. It has done business in the Baltimore area for more than two decades and provides investment management services through its Strategic Funds’ private equity funds and its hedge fund, and now through CPEA, it will offer a fund-of-funds to high-net-worth individuals and institutions.
Through the company’s Strategic Partners private equity fund business, Camden Partners focuses on providing private equity to emerging micro-cap public and later-stage private companies. Typically, these companies will have a market capitalization of less than $250 million and operate within the business service, education, health care, technology and communications sectors.
“Camden is going to continue to function as it always has,” said Finney. “We have a minority interest in them, and we are going to share space with them in Baltimore.” Finney was hired away from SunTrust Mid Atlantic Bank, where he was a senior vice president in charge of equity selection for the Mid-Atlantic region. Finney started his investment career with Crest Star six years ago, where he said there were no managed assets when he came on board.
“It was a broker-dealer, and when I left we had about $300 million in assets under management,” he said.
Finney went on to say that the affiliation with Camden strengthens Wilmington Trust’s presence in the Mid-Atlantic region and Maryland, which is an advantage over simply creating a private equity arm at Wilmington without the relationship with Camden. He added that the relationship between the two firms was already in place when “We asked ourselves, what is the potential here for a larger stake company wide?’ ” and decided a private equity partnership made sense.
Moreover, the Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Virginia corridor has a significant concentration of wealth, and subsequently is, “one of the most fertile grounds for asset managers,” said Finney.
The transaction with Camden Partners follows Wilmington Trust’s recent affiliation with Atlanta-based investment advisors Balentine & Company. Over the past three years, Wilmington Trust has opened new offices in California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. In 1998, Wilmington Trust affiliated with New York-based Cramer Rosenthal McGlynn, adding value-style management and expertise in limited partnership and private equity placements. Later in 1998, Wilmington Trust affiliated with Roxbury Capital Management, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based growth-style manager to invest in socially responsible science and technology ventures. Wilmington’s wholly owned bank subsidiary, Wilmington Trust Company, was founded in 1903 and today is the 13th largest personal trust provider in the U.S.