Citywire Switzerland: Tiedemann Constantia CEO details restructuring after $54bn merger

October 4, 2021

By Fergus Horsfall | October 4, 2021

Swiss headquartered Tiedemann Constantia will be absorbed into the new company Alvarium Tiedemann Capital, founder and CEO Robert Weeber told Citywire Switzerland.

Tiedemann Group and Alvarium Investments are merging to form Alvarium Tiedemann Holdings and list on the Nasdaq via a SPAC, the companies announced in September.

Weeber is currently CEO of Tiedemann Constantia, a joint venture between his firm Constantia Partners and Tiedemann Advisors, which has operated as a standalone brand.

He remains based in Zurich, and will consequently become co-president of wealth management at Alvarium Tiedemann, covering the international operations. Craig Smith will head the wealth management operations in the US, while Tiedemann Advisors’ founder Mike Tiedemann will be CEO, with Alvarium CEO Alexander de Meyer taking an executive committee role.

The combined firms’ assets were $54bn (CHF 50bn) at the end of 2020, and they predict growth to $65bn by the end of 2022.

However, Weeber said that the business will mainly be run in the same way as it was before the transaction’s closure, expected in Q1 2022, despite significant structural changes.

‘We started as a joint venture, but it very quickly became clear that we were really operating as the 10th, 11th and most recently 12th office of Tiedemann. It is not a huge leap, and we intended to eventually consolidate under the Tiedemann brand in any case.’

The news follows a previous merger announcement in July, when it was made public that Tiedemann Constantia is purchasing UK based multi-family office Holbein Partners. This company will also be merged into the wider group.

‘It just made strategic sense for us for a very long time to expand our presence in the UK. We will have a team based in London who do more family and family office consulting work.

‘Holbein Partners has a great family office advisory business, excellent investment talent and they manage discretionary portfolios in the same way that we do.’

Alvarium Tiedemann’s wealth management headquarters will be New York, and its asset management will be run from London. However Weeber remains in Zurich, and the new entity’s 25 offices will include presences in Zurich, Baar, Geneva and Lugano.

‘On a consolidated basis, we will be one of the largest independent wealth managers in Switzerland,’ he said.

‘We collaborate with each other on clients across the firm. We have US clients who have children moving to London, and we have a network across Europe, and now Asia that we can offer to all our clients if they or their relatives move.’

As part of its efforts to serve clients who are active in multiple regions, the firm has an SEC license meaning that its offices outside of the country can still serve US clients, and about half of the assets are in the country and half outside.

The Constantia story

In 2017 Weeber quit Credit Suisse, where he was head of UK International UHNW Group and UK client management, with his team managing over $7bn in assets. In the same year, he then founded Constantia Partners, which is also being rolled into Alvarium Tiedemann. He was aged 35.

‘When I left Credit Suisse, it seemed like a strange decision for a lot of people. However, I could see the direction that the larger banks as a whole, not just Credit Suisse, were going in moving forwards. They were struggling to provide the level of service that clients were rightfully expecting, and there was a creep of standardisation.’

He said that clients have responded well to an independent mentality.

‘We have a good amount of employee and partner capital invested in our strategies. We really eat our own cooking. As somebody who came from a large bank and moved onto the independent side, even I found it surprising what a difference that alignment makes to the clients.’

As his outpost is rolled into the parent organisation, which will have around 400 staff and is expected to be valued at $1.4bn, Weeber insists that his company can differentiate itself from the banking world he left behind. He does not expect the company’s independent culture to be watered down by the listing. As evidence for this, he cites the fact that over a quarter of Tiedemann staff owns equity in the business, and that Alvarium has a similar setup.

‘We are strong believers in equity culture amongst our employees. 96% of current private shareholders in the firm are taking part in a one-time exchange for public equity, which will constitute north of 60% of the listed vehicle. We felt this would allow us to retain control over our destiny. We have and will continue to have no in-house products in our client portfolios.’

For his part, four years after branching out, Weeber’s Tiedemann Constantia now oversees $3.5bn and over 20 employees, and he says following the merger both assets and staff will increase significantly.

‘It has been a fantastic growth story, from a consulting company to being part of a Nasdaq listed entity, in a relatively short space of time.’

To read the article on Citywire Switzerland click here.

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