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Wealth manager John Froley (left) and NewEdge Wealth CEO Rob Sachen

NewEdge Wealth Establishes First Bay Area Office with First Republic Breakaway

John Froley has departed First Republic after 15 years to join the invite-only segment of NewEdge Capital Group.

NewEdge Wealth, a Stamford, Conn.-based registered investment advisory firm serving ultra-wealthy families, family offices and institutional clients, has opened its first San Francisco office with the addition of former First Republic wealth manager John Froley.  

Froley joins NewEdge Wealth, along with one team member, from First Republic Investment Management, where he worked for 15 years. The pair is operating out of a temporary office space while the firm establishes a permanent location, with plans to begin expanding in the region immediately.

A boutique subsidiary of NewEdge Capital Group, NewEdge Wealth already had plans to move into the San Francisco area when the opportunity presented itself ahead of schedule, according to Rob Sechan, co-founder and co-managing partner at NewEdge Capital Group and CEO of NewEdge Wealth.

“We’ve been pretty active in San Francisco and were going to be there anyway, which you'll see in the coming months,” he said. “This opportunity came a little earlier than we had planned to open, and we decided to take advantage of it. We've been really focused on the important ultra-high-net-worth markets, of which it's hard to pick a better one than San Francisco.”

Sechan said the firm was impressed with Froley’s client roster and felt he would make a good “beachhead” from which to create a larger presence in the area. He said NewEdge has not been actively recruiting advisors from First Republic or Silicon Valley Bank out of respect for former professional partners and a desire not to appear predatory.  

Early in his career, Froley was an analyst for Gabelli Funds in New York before moving to San Francisco to work as a senior analyst for Van Kasper & Co. Prior to joining First Republic in 2008, he provided investment management and financial planning services to private clients at Bank of America and multinational insurance company AXA.

The announcement follows the firm’s entrance into two other new markets in 2023. A trio from UBS joined earlier this month, establishing a presence in the Nashville area, and the addition of a team from Arvest brought NewEdge Wealth into Northwest Arkansas in March. 

NewEdge Capital Group was created in 2021 after parent company EdgeCo Holdings acquired Goss Advisors to lead its independent wealth management division. The NewEdge ecosystem includes three distinct businesses—NewEdge Wealth, an invite-only boutique firm focused on ultra-wealthy clients; NewEdge Advisors, a technology and support platform for independent advisors; and NewEdge Securities, which provides institutional trading services and related technology.

The firm is focused on providing institutional-level services, access to private and alternative investment opportunities and cutting-edge technology for independent advisors serving UHNW clients, according to Sechan. Virtually all the firm’s technology providers are currently looking at ways to incorporate new AI algorithms to improve advisor workflows and decision-making processes, he noted.

“Our overall arching mission is to drive better outcomes for clients and advisors and become the firm of choice for elite advisors in all three of our businesses,” he said. “If you look at the advisors that are joining us, they tend to be in the top 10% of the industry.”

“It’s certainly true that a lot of ultra-high-net-worth investors feel comfort and gravitate toward those types of firms or that type of offering,” said John Langston, managing partner at boutique investment bank Republic Capital Group. “I think [NewEdge has] real substantive experience in dealing with a lot of those clients and bringing them extensive solutions like those available on a wirehouse platform, and I think that fits well with the type of advisor they want to recruit.”

After NewEdge Advisors unveiled a W-2 model early this year as part of a new acquisitive initiative, both NewEdge Wealth and NewEdge Advisors now offer affiliation and W-2 options to incoming advisors.

“That’s a little tricker,” said Langston. “It makes sense to attract a larger volume of advisors, but there is always a challenge to maximizing enterprise value if someone is not a shareholder or a W-2 employee, so they’ll have to sort that out.”

Backed by private equity firms Parthenon Capital Partners and Waterfall Asset Management, NewEdge currently comprises more than 300 advisors overseeing a collective $36 billion in assets for tens of thousands of clients. NewEdge Wealth accounts for about a third of that at around $12 billion, according to Sechan.

NewEdge Wealth now has nine locations—including its Stamford headquarters, three new offices and existing branches in Manhattan Beach, Calif., Coral Gables and Miami, Fla., Pittsburgh, Penn., and Park City, Utah—and there are plans to expand into other markets, said Sechan. He declined to identify a particular region other than to say Texas is an area of interest and the focus is on all major UHNW enclaves.

“We are in very active discussions with firms in a number of major metro areas,” he said. “And we will continue to establish our presence in all the major economic hubs around the country.”

“I think it’s very possible they’ll become a leader in attracting these ultra-high-net-worth advisors,” said Langston. “As someone who’s very active in the independent space, my hope is they’ll become sort of a bridge example of the type of firm who can pull these elite advisors away from the wirehouses.”

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