Magazine article American Banker

Bank of N.Y. Eyes More Northeast Asset-Firm Deals

Magazine article American Banker

Bank of N.Y. Eyes More Northeast Asset-Firm Deals

Article excerpt

Bank of New York's recent acquisitions of two Boston-area wealth management companies indicate a sharpening of its interest in the New England wealth market, said an executive at the banking company.

Newton P.S. Merrill, head of private-client services and BNY Asset Management, said the company is looking for more acquisitions to both build up its presence and diversify its services in the region.

The deals for the Boston firms Beacon Fiduciary Advisors and Gannet Welsh & Kotler are an intensification of the expansion into New England that began with the purchase of a Connecticut trust company five years ago, Mr. Merrill said.

The growth of its Greenwich, Conn., wealth manager Putnam Trust, which has recently expanded into Westport and New Canaan, Conn., prompted the decision to buy the Boston firms, he indicated.

"If we weren't pleased with their progress, we probably wouldn't proceed with others," Mr. Merrill said.

The company is looking for "opportunistic" acquisitions that would add "depth and capability" to its New England business, he said.

Mr. Merrill also said that the company is looking for healthy companies with solid reputations. "We're not in the business of buying turnarounds," he said.

The company has bought three other asset managers in recent years -- Axe-Houghton Associates Inc., Ivy Asset Management Corp., and Estabrook Capital Management LLC, in an effort to boost its fee business. The Beacon and Gannet deals -- neither price was disclosed -- are expected to close in this quarter.

Bank of New York is hoping that the two companies can refer clients to each other, but Mr. Merrill said he intends to interfere little in their business. The $5 billion-asset Gannet specializes in tax-deferred fixed-income products and wraps; $700 million-asset Beacon is a "balanced growth" equity manager with trust services, he said. …

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