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Rating:Wilmington Trust Separates its Investment Management Unit from its Wealth Advisory Biz Not Rated 0.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Friday, January 18, 2008

Wilmington Trust Separates its Investment Management Unit from its Wealth Advisory Biz

News summary by MFWire's editors

Wilmington Trust has separated its Wilmington Trust Investment Management (WTIM) subsidiary from its wealth advisory services business. In addition, WTIM chief Robert Balentine has been promoted to executive vice president of Wilmington Trust. Balentine, 50, report to Wilmington Trust chairman and CEO Ted Cecala.

Cecala pointed to two reasons for the split. "In the WAS business, we specialize in advising on a full range of wealth management, protection and transfer strategies, and asset management is just one of the services our clients use," he said.

Also, Wilmington is "increasingly leveraging" its investment management capabilities on behalf of institutional clients and those the firm serves it its corporate client services business.

Company Press Release

Wilmington, DE, January 17, 2008 – Wilmington Trust Corporation (NYSE: WL) announced that one of its senior managers, Mark A. Graham, has been selected to head the company’s Wealth Advisory Services (WAS) business and promoted to executive vice president. Mr. Graham, 46, will be responsible for managing and expanding the fast-growing WAS business, which has clients throughout the United States and offices in 10 states, including all but two of the largest U.S. high-net-worth markets.

“Mark is a proven leader, and he has in-depth knowledge of our company, our clients, and our strategies for revenue growth and expansion,” said Ted T. Cecala, Wilmington Trust chairman and chief executive officer. “I have tremendous confidence in Mark’s ability to grow our Wealth Advisory business, which has been the cornerstone of our company since members of the du Pont family founded Wilmington Trust in 1903.”

Mr. Graham, who has been with Wilmington Trust since 1983, has extensive experience in commercial banking and wealth management. In 1998, he was charged with establishing and building the company’s wealth management and commercial banking presence in southeastern Pennsylvania. From an initial office in Villanova, he implemented an unconventional business model in which wealth advisors and commercial lenders work together in teams to support privately held and family-owned businesses, which typically place high value on having long-term relationships with their bankers and financial advisors.

He led the company’s expansion into Doylestown in 2000 and the Lehigh Valley in 2006. Today Wilmington Trust serves WAS and commercial banking clients throughout the southeastern quadrant of the state. Business from the Pennsylvania market continues to grow, and was a significant factor in the 15% increase in WAS revenue and the 7% increase in loan balances the company recorded for the first nine months of 2007.

Most recently, Mr. Graham was head of Wilmington Trust’s wealth management and commercial banking activities in the mid-Atlantic region. In that role, in addition to leading the Pennsylvania and Delaware markets, he managed the company’s expansion into Princeton and southern New Jersey, and into the Baltimore-Washington, D.C., area, where the successful Pennsylvania wealth advisory and banking team model is being replicated.

“I am immensely excited about the potential for growth in this business – and about having the chance to work even more closely with my WAS colleagues,” said Mr. Graham. “We have a unique franchise in the wealth management industry because of the scope of our services, our highly credentialed and experienced staff, and the fact that we would rather help our clients by providing objective advice than by selling them products.”

In conjunction with Mr. Graham’s appointment as head of the WAS business, Wilmington Trust announced that Wilmington Trust Investment Management (WTIM), the subsidiary through which the company provides asset management services, is being separated from the WAS business. Robert M. Balentine, 50, WTIM’s chairman and chief executive officer, has been promoted to executive vice president of Wilmington Trust. Mr. Balentine will continue to be based in Atlanta. Both he and Mr. Graham, who will be based in Wilmington, will report directly to Mr. Cecala.

Mr. Balentine has overseen Wilmington Trust’s investment management activities since 2002, when he merged his Atlanta investment counseling firm, Balentine & Company, into Wilmington Trust. Mr. Balentine led the transition of Wilmington Trust’s investment management activities onto an investment counseling platform that offers a full range of asset classes and styles through a combination of proprietary and third-party managers, and serves clients throughout the United States.

“Our union with Balentine & Company built on our existing strengths and significantly broadened our asset management capabilities, and the expertise we gained from the Balentine team has been a major factor in the growth of the WAS business,” said Mr. Cecala. “Going forward, it makes sense to separate WTIM from WAS for two reasons. First, in the WAS business, we specialize in advising on a full range of wealth management, protection, and transfer strategies, and asset management is just one of the services our clients use. Second, we increasingly are leveraging our investment management capabilities on behalf of institutional clients and those we serve in our Corporate Client Services business.”

Although the WAS and WTIM functions will be separated organizationally, Wilmington Trust will continue to record the revenue from both as Wealth Advisory revenue.

About Mr. Graham Since joining Wilmington Trust in 1983, Mr. Graham has specialized in all aspects of commercial banking and lending, private banking, trust, and investment management services. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and history from the University of North Carolina. He also is a graduate of the Stonier Graduate School of Banking. Actively involved in community and business organizations, Mr. Graham co-chairs the Barnes Society Advisory Board and is a member of the Corporate Partners Board of the Philadelphia Art Museum. He is a board member of the Moore College of Art, and a member of the corporate board of the Villanova School of Business. He and his wife live in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania.

About Mr. Balentine Prior to Balentine & Company, Mr. Balentine was an executive at Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, where, at the age of 28, he became the youngest vice president in Merrill Lynch’s history. He has held a variety of leadership positions in business and cultural organizations in Atlanta. He recently completed a three-year term as chairman of the board of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. He currently serves on the Woodruff Arts Center’s strategic planning committee, and was formerly a vice chairman of that organization’s executive committee. He is the founding president of The Southeastern Horticultural Society, parent organization of the Southeastern Flower Show, and a member of the Atlanta Rotary Club. He is a graduate of Washington & Lee University and serves as a member of its Board of Trustees. He is a frequent speaker and nationally recognized authority on common-sense investing and finance. He has appeared on CNBC’s Squawk Box and Business Center, and he has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Fortune, Forbes, and Atlanta-area news publications.

About Wealth Advisory Services

Wilmington Trust’s Wealth Advisory Services (WAS) business offers a comprehensive array of financial planning, asset management, and fiduciary services for high-net-worth individuals and families. WAS focuses on clients with liquid assets of $10 million or more. WAS offices are located in California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. At the end of 2007, WAS had clients in all 50 states and 35 other countries.

Edited by: Erin Kello

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