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Rockefeller, Freestone Capital Attract Talent in Palm Beach, San Francisco

Rockefeller Global Family Office has announced its fourth recruit in three weeks, while Freestone Capital Management attracted an advisor from another RIA.

In its fourth addition of the month, Rockefeller Global Family Office has added a team of four from Merrill Lynch led by advisors Jim McKenzie and David Harvan.

The Harvan McKenzie Group in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., oversaw around $503 million in assets at Merrill, according to Forbes. The team joined Rockefeller on Friday.

Harvan, who spent nearly a quarter of a century with Merrill, holds law and accounting degrees. An estate planning and tax attorney prior to joining the wirehouse, he is still eligible to practice law in Florida. McKenzie joined Merrill in 2012, following 14 years with Smith Barney, and obtained his certified plan fiduciary advisor designation in early 2018.

Along with support staff Sandra Stiger and Alexander Villacampa, the duo develops investment and financial management strategies for high-net-worth individuals, families and small to medium-sized businesses with between $250,000 and $5 million in assets.

Rockefeller GFO is owned by Rockefeller Capital Management, which began as the family office of John D. Rockefeller in 1882. CEO Greg Fleming and private equity firm Viking Global Investors bought the firm in 2018, when it was a small multi-family office overseeing around $18 billion in assets, and restructured it as a hybrid wealth management firm and investment bank with three distinct businesses—Rockefeller Global Family Office, Rockefeller Asset Management and Rockefeller Strategic Advisory. Collectively, they now represent 47 locations across the U.S. (as well as one asset management distribution shop in London), overseeing about $112 billion in in client assets.

After beginning the year with $98 billion in assets, Rockefeller has added 14 new firms—including a team of 17 from the failed First Republic Bank and a host of other bank and wirehouse breakaways—surpassing its goal of $100 billion in 2023.

“We’re very tightly focused through these private advisors on high net worth and ultra high net worth. So we have thousands of clients, not millions, and we've built such a great set of products and services and platforms supporting those advisors that it's differentiated in the marketplace,” Fleming told Capital Allocators’ Ted Seides on his Private Equity Deals podcast last month.

Over the next five years, Fleming said he expects to grow to around 250 teams in 50 major U.S. markets, including nascent areas like Charlottesville, Va. and Austin, Texas, and more than double assets. At that point, Rockefeller will focus primarily on organic growth in the U.S. and may start looking to expand overseas.

“In five or six years, we want to have finished the original mandate, which was to create a best-in-class firm offering comprehensive advice through world-class private advisors to high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth clients across all of the United States with the ability to counsel them if they built that wealth through a business, and the ability to offer products on the asset management side that are unique to Rockefeller—but offer them on an open architecture basis,” he said. “That vision will have been realized.”

Earlier this year, Rockefeller received a $622 million minority investment from the ultra-wealthy Desmarais family in Canada, which has historical ties to the Rockefellers—in a deal that valued the firm at $3.1 billion.

Jonathan Wittlin Moves to Freestone Capital from Parallel Advisors

West Coast-based Freestone Capital Management has recruited Jonathan Wittlin to its San Francisco office, where he will join a team of 26 advisors and report to Head of Client Advisory Jim Hughes.  

Wittlin joins Freestone from Golden Gate Capital-backed Parallel Advisors in San Francisco, where he spent more than four years, following 16 helping to build the financial planning practice under NFP-owned Lenox Advisors. 

“Jonathan’s entire career has been focused on helping his clients navigate their unique individual situations, and we are so excited to have him join our growing team in the Bay Area,” Hughes said in a statement. “Jonathan has an incredibly deep history in the construction, implementation, and ongoing management of complex financial and investment plans.”

Wittlin expects his clients to benefit from Freestone’s in-house support around investments, financial planning, estate and tax advisory, and marketing.

Headquartered in San Francisco’s Bay Area, Freestone is an employee-owned, fee-only firm founded in 1999. Focused on recruiting next-gen advisors, Freestone has grown from $250 million to more than $8 billion in managed assets across three offices in California, as well as one in Seattle and another in Anchorage.

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