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The new Fidelis team (L-R): Benjamin Hilyard, Aaron Wall, Michael Sellers, Christopher Tate and Ashley Connor

$4.5B Bank of America Private Bank Team Joins Fidelis Capital

The five-person team brings 70+ years of experience serving wealthy clients, family offices and institutions to the year-old Fidelis.

Fidelis Capital, a Tampa-based registered investment advisory firm launched last summer with around $600 million in regulatory assets as of this June, announced Monday that a five-person team advising on more than $4.5 billion in client assets has joined from Bank of America Private Bank.

Opening a Fidelis office in Washington, D.C., the quintet—including portfolio managers Michael Sellers and Aaron Wall, Wealth Strategist Christopher Tate, Fiduciary Specialist Benjamin Hilyard and Client Service Associate Ashley Connor—left Bank of America because they were “frustrated by the constant turnover and inability to provide solutions,” according to the announcement.

“Fidelis Capital operates as an outsourced family office, which will provide tremendous value and support as we strive to help clients navigate financial complexity in their lives,” Tate said in a statement. “Instead of the common industry practice of providing clients with access to one primary advisor, we surround families with a team of subject matter experts, who each specialize in a particular field and are in touch with the industry as a whole, to be able to seek out in-depth solutions to complex problems.”

The team is one of the largest to break away from the bank channel to pursue independence in recent history. In May, a five-person team left First Republic for Lido Advisors with around $1 billion in assets after it was announced that the beleaguered bank would be acquired by JPMorgan Chase, and a trio managing $1 billion left Signature Bank for Atria’s Cadaret Grant after Signature was acquired by New York Community Bancorp's Flagstar Bank following its failure.

“The fact that this outstanding team from Bank of America has chosen to join Fidelis Capital is indicative of the continued evolution of private banking and a testament to how Fidelis Capital is helping to change the private banking sector,” added Fidelis CEO Rick Simonetti. “As the founders of Fidelis Capital did, this team is making the transition to independence in search of an environment more amenable to the complex, ultra-high-net-worth wealth planning that their clients need.”

Simonetti was one of five partners, four from Wells Fargo and one from Bank of America’s US Trust, to found Fidelis a year ago with the goal of providing fiduciary private banking services to clients free of corporate ownership, service provider constraints and conflicts of interest associated with large financial institutions.

With the addition of Wall, Sellers, Tate and Hilyard as partners, the firm is principally owned by the group of nine, including President Matthew Ellis, co-CIOs Matt Michaels and Neale Ellis (Matthew’s brother) and Client Advisor Paul Ayotte. Once construction on a new office space in D.C.'s historic The Parks neighborhood is complete, it will become the firm’s third location, in addition to Tampa and Dallas. For now, the new team is working out of offices in Bethesda, Md. 

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