Family Office

International Wealth Houses Merge To Create New Fiduciary, Trusts Group

Tom Burroughes Group Editor Geneva 15 June 2016

International Wealth Houses Merge To Create New Fiduciary, Trusts Group

A pair of firms with combined assets under administration of $17 billion are joining forces, creating a firm operating in six jurisdictions, with more geographic expansion planned.

International wealth management houses LJ Partnership and Virtus Trust Group have merged their trust and fiduciary businesses, creating an organisation with around 80 staff and overseeing more than $17 billion of assets. The move is yet another example of M&A affecting sectors such as family offices and similar entities.

The deal is subject to regulatory clearance, the organisations said in a statement.
The combined group, to be rebranded LJ Trust & Fiduciary, will provide fiduciary capabilities in Guernsey, the Isle of Man, the US, New Zealand, the UK and Switzerland and aims to further expand into new ‘onshore’ jurisdictions such as Luxembourg and Malta, it said.

Virtus will also continue to use its own brand name in selected territories, such as LJ Virtus Trust USA”.  Nicholas Moss and Roderick Balfour, founding partners of Virtus, will join LJ Partnership and selected partners of LJ Partnership will also join the management boards of Virtus’ group of companies.

“Virtus’ strong position in Guernsey and the USA supports LJ’s ambitions to extend its geographical reach in the trust market, while LJ provides the next generation of ownership and stewardship for Virtus whose award winning reputation and client base has been built up over the last ten years,” the firms said.

“Since the tragic death three years ago of our partner and friend, David Allison, we have been acutely aware of the lottery of life and this focused our minds on planning for the future as well as insulating our clients and staff from further unexpected events,” Moss and Balfour said in a joint statement.

“To find a business partner with all the criteria we have been looking for, especially with the goal of providing service continuity for our client families as generational transfer occurs, has not been easy but, by merging with LJ, that has been achieved and we greatly look forward to driving the development of the combined businesses with the younger and fresh approach the LJ partners bring to the table,” they said.

Virtus Trust was formed in 2005 and now serves clients in more than 40 nations with more than $7 billion of assets under administration. It has made a point of catering to US clients at a time when this group has been frequently shunned by financial services because of the compliance costs associated with expat Americans. Virtus has a US trust licence.

LJ Partnership, meanwhile, has eight offices in Europe, Asia and the US, with more than $10 billion of assets. Last December, it was rebranded from its old name of LJ Group. It was founded in 2009 as a multi-family office. Founders included Edward and Harry Lawson Johnston, whose family’s heritage lies on both sides of the Atlantic in banking and in consumer goods; co-founders of Guggenheim Investment Advisors, Juan Ball and Pablo Stalman and financier, Andrew Williams.

More recently, LJ’s founding shareholders have been joined by the Yeung family, owners of the Hong Kong headquartered investment company, Peterson Group and Chilean pharmaceutical entrepreneur, Alejandro Weinstein.


Register for WealthBriefing today

Gain access to regular and exclusive research on the global wealth management sector along with the opportunity to attend industry events such as exclusive invites to Breakfast Briefings and Summits in the major wealth management centres and industry leading awards programmes