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Veteran Asset Manager Joins Alpha Capital Family Offices from Northern Trust

The Denver-based outsourced family office tapped Tom Riley to lead portfolio management as part of a growth strategy targeting bank breakaways.

Alpha Capital Family Offices, a Denver-based RIA providing outsourced family office services for about 100 families and a handful of companies on a flat-fee basis, has recruited Tom Riley from Northern Trust to head the construction and management of customized client portfolios.   

As a chartered financial analyst, Riley’s career in portfolio management included six years with First Data Corporation and five with Colorado State Bank & Trust before Northern Trust hired him in 2012. As a senior portfolio manager at Northern, he managed $500 million for ultra-wealthy clients.  

Riley joins a team of five that includes a trio of multigenerational partners/advisors and two client service professionals.  

Alpha Capital was initially created in 2015 by a breakaway Wells Fargo team that included Doug Campbell, Mark Ell and two of Campbell’s sons. Five years later, the family office business was officially spun off from Alpha Capital Management Group, primarily serving corporate retirement plans. Doug Campbell was the only founding partner to go with it. He brought along Chris Baxter, a former IT professional with Voya Financial, and Tom Dameron, a former director of advanced strategies for Jackson. 

Tom Riley Alpha Consulting

Tom Riley

With about $140 million in client assets under management and almost $1 billion under advisement, ACFO actively seeks to add talent from the bank and wirehouse channels. The firm has engaged the services of Lumina Consulting, which facilitated Riley’s recruitment.  

“The private banking world is changing,” said Campbell. “Increasingly, management is deciding on how clients are going to be taken care of, not the portfolio managers or bankers that are working with those people day to day. You’re seeing more use of models for clients’ investment allocations and not customization. They’re even moving clients to call centers. 

“We are highly customized with all our client relationships, taking into consideration all of their assets, not just the liquid assets,” he said. “That’s why we’re able to get someone with Tom’s experience, and that’s why we’re continuing to recruit in this private banking arena because we know there are other experienced professional, highly talented experts out there looking to truly be that independent fiduciary for their clients, not just an employee of a big banking institution.” 

“It really was the idea of being at a firm that is client-focused and where I can have the opportunity to work with the people that I want to work with and make portfolios that are really customized and build relationships that will last a career and a lifetime,” added Riley.

For a predetermined flat fee, charged quarterly in arrears, ACFO offers asset management and financial planning, an evolving suite of financial technology tools; family governance and financial education services; business coordination and consultation; and planning around taxes, insurance, estate transfer and philanthropy—the firm coordinates with third-party providers on everything from tax preparation to mental health.  

The plan is to grow primarily through referrals, expanded marketing efforts and the addition of talented investors, with an eye on building a staff that mirrors rising generations set to inherit vast wealth. Campbell said he has no interest in M&A and expects to double advisor headcount over the next four or five years through recruitment alone. 

“We see the private banking world as a good opportunity right now, and it’s really the client interest there,” he said. “This is being driven by the clients wanting a different experience. They want to see value in a different way. They want to and need to see stuff customized for them, not the way an institution wants to do it. 

“I think that’s where the demand and potential are high,” he said. “I wish I were 25 years old again and someone was dragging me into this. It’s exciting when you’re actually sitting on the same side of the table with a client.” 

“This trend has been ongoing for years, especially as we have seen so much change happening at the largest private banks, often driven by a focus on profits and commoditization,” noted Lumina founder Tim Kneen. “It’s no surprise to see someone as skilled as Tom making the move to independence.”

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