Less than a year after recruiting one of Richmond’s wealthiest families into its fold and setting up its first office in the city, a Hampton Roads firm that manages the fortunes of high-net-worth clients has been acquired by a larger competitor.
Norfolk-based Signature Family Wealth Advisors was sold this month to Brown Advisory.
The deal brings Signature’s $4 billion in client assets into Brown’s pool of $67 billion and gives Brown its first physical foothold locally from which to grow its presence in Richmond and elsewhere in Virginia.
Signature spokeswoman Andrea Ayres said the deal was spurred by the death this year of Signature co-founder Anne Shumadine. That prompted a search for an acquirer that could help Shumadine’s family cash out of the company.
“Our founder passed away this year and her family wasn’t involved (in the company), and there was an opportunity for them to be taken out by a new equity partner,” Ayres said.
The deal closed Nov. 15 with undisclosed terms. Signature is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Brown, which has eight offices around the country and in London, the largest of which is in Baltimore.
Included in the deal was Signature’s Shockoe Bottom office at 11 S. 14th St., which it gained about a year ago by taking on the operations of Triad LC, a firm that oversees the assets of Richmonder Ivor Massey Jr. and his extended family.
Signature also has an office in Charlottesville, in addition to its home in downtown Norfolk. The firm handles investment management, estate planning, tax organization and other services for high-net-worth families with more than $10 million in investable assets. It has about 165 clients across 21 states.
The deal with Brown provided sustainability, Ayres said, for Signature’s clients and employees. It allows the Signature brand and staff to continue on and gives its employees the chance to own a piece of Brown, as the firm is an employee-owned company.
“It helped the (Shumadine) family monetize their investment and gave Signature employees part of a going concern,” Ayres said, adding that co-founder Susan Colpitts will stay with the firm under Brown.
Ayres added that Brown was interested in Signature for its specialty in helping wealthy families and the chance to push further into Virginia.
“Brown now has a home base in the city of Richmond,” Ayres said.