Magazine article American Banker

Ga. Firm Opens, Plans to Pamper Mid-Rich Clients

Magazine article American Banker

Ga. Firm Opens, Plans to Pamper Mid-Rich Clients

Article excerpt

An attorney turned broker and a banker have unveiled plans to open an Atlanta financial services firm today that hopes to gain a foothold by offering wealth management services to high-net-worth investors that have typically been reserved for the ultra-wealthy.

StillPoint Advisors Inc. will look to build relationships with individuals and families that have $5 million to $20 million of assets by offering family-office services such as investment strategy development, asset allocation planning, tax and estate planning, and even concierge services.

James E. Thomas, a lawyer who became a broker in 1976 and now is the co-founder and chief executive officer of StillPoint, said industry consolidation and the disappearance of small regional brokers give him an opening.

"The firms that engage in the brokerage business have retreated from the notion of advice and support and placed themselves in product-pushing mode," Mr. Thomas said. "There is a disconnect between clients and firms."

Though based in the Southeast, StillPoint said, it will look to expand nationally by hiring niche teams. Charles W. Ogilvie, a co-founder and the chief operating officer, said the firm will open with 12 employees and expand to 50 this year. Of the 50, 38 are to be wealth advisers.

Mr. Ogilvie, who co-founded Security First Network Bank and S1 Corp., respectively the world's first Internet bank and a Web banking software provider, said the banking industry created this opportunity for StillPoint. "Banks saw the money being made, and they began to acquire and consolidate," he said. "Everyone has the same products. They have got to push products to grow revenue and earnings. To grow, they have to sell."

"Banks have come to the conclusion that they own the client and that the people working for them are interchangeable and replaceable by vending machines called ATMs," Mr. …

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