Family Office

EXCLUSIVE: Thomas Carroll On His First Few Months At The Helm Of GenSpring

Harriet Davies, Editor - Family Wealth Report, 27 March 2013

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GenSpring Family Offices is in some ways a poster child for the multi-family office industry: it grew assets under management very quickly for many years but has recently had to tackle problems that come with this increasing scale.

GenSpring Family Offices is in some ways a poster child for the multi-family office industry: it grew assets under management very quickly for many years but has recently had to tackle problems, such as the allocation of capital, that come with this increasing scale.

Last October, Maria Lagomasino, then-chief executive, left the firm after seven years there. She was succeeded by Thomas Carroll, an executive from GenSpring’s parent firm SunTrust, in a move that raised eyebrows as to what that signaled for the firm’s direction.

Some reports suggested a “takeover” by the bank, which, as Carroll points out, is an inaccurate portrayal of the historical relationship between the two firms.

“What I think is a little bit ironic here is that SunTrust has never had less than 65 per cent ownership, and well before I was CEO was 100 per cent owner, and has done everything possible to support GenSpring’s growth,” says Carroll.

“And as I sit here today [SunTrust] is fully supportive of the open architecture and advice driven model,” he adds.

“We went through a leadership change but not a change in direction when it comes to the way we serve families,” says Carroll. 

Carroll’s background

Carroll came to the CEO role after leading SunTrust's sports and entertainment group. He has spent 16 years at SunTrust in various positions within the firm's private wealth management business, including serving as wealth services manager in Atlanta.

“I actually worked very closely with GenSpring back in the early 2000s - back then it was called AMA, but SunTrust and AMA had a really strong relationship,” he explains. “As an advisor I referred a number of my families who I served on the private wealth side of our business to GenSpring. So I had a great respect and admiration for what GenSpring did as a firm and the way that they served their families.

“Last fall our CEO, Bill Rogers, along with some other executives in the firm asked me to take on the role of CEO of GenSpring. I was particularly pleased that Bill Rogers and I took some time before I took the role, because Bill was the executive over wealth and investment management in 2000 when SunTrust purchased a stake in AMA. And so he worked very closely with our founder Hap Perry,” he says. 

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