Industry veterans to head up new wealth unit of Lebenthal Holdings

Campanale, Grillo and Lane form firm to attract indie advisers

Oct 15, 2013 @ 1:07 pm

By Jeff Benjamin

Financial services industry veterans Frank Campanale, Andrew Grillo and Jeffrey Lane are joining forces to head up a new private wealth advisory division of Lebenthal Holdings LLC that will seek to attract independent advisers.

Alexandra Lebenthal, chief executive and president of Lebenthal Holdings, said Tuesday that the new advisory firm, Lebenthal Wealth Advisors LLC, will “leverage our successful brand, and proven capital markets and asset management expertise, while forging a new model for entrepreneurial financial advisers.”

Mr. Campanale will be chairman and chief executive of Lebenthal Wealth Advisors, and Mr. Lane will be chairman of Lebenthal Holdings. Mr. Grillo, a former regional director at Smith Barney, will be president of Lebenthal Wealth Advisors.

Lebenthal Holdings, which was founded in 1925 by Ms. Lebenthal's grandparents, is a boutique investment bank specializing in debt and equity capital markets.

The advisory firm affiliate moves the brand deeper into the asset management and financial advice categories.

“Lebenthal continues to grow the scope of its asset management and broker-dealer activities. This venture not only complements our existing platform but will position us for future growth as we take advantage of opportunities in the evolving financial services landscape,” Ms. Lebenthal said.

Mr. Campanale was president and chief executive of Smith Barney Consulting Group, where he was responsible for the investment management consulting business.

Mr. Lane's background includes working as chief executive of Bear Stearns Asset Management, chairman and chief executive of Neuberger Berman Inc., and a vice chairman of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.

“Our goal is simple,” he said. “We want to attract the best independent registered investment advisers and entrepreneurial wealth managers from across the nation by providing them with a culture that empowers them to deliver the best service and unconflicted advice to their clients.”

Both Mr. Campanale and Mr. Grillo were working to relaunch a new version of E.F. Hutton & Co. when Mr. Lane approached them with the proposal to build the advisory business at Lebenthal.

“I was meeting with some private-equity firms over the past few months, and Jeff Lane showed up at a lunch meeting,” Mr. Campanale said. “I was trying to reel Jeff into the E.F. Hutton world, but he convinced me there is a better opportunity at Lebenthal for me and Andy [Grillo].”

It is a sharp turn for Mr. Campanale, who celebrated the efforts to relaunch the E.F. Hutton name in April 2012.

The venerable name was registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission in August 2012. (Read about E.F. Hutton's ADV filing.)

“It's a fantastic brand and it still has a wonderful legacy, not only with advisers who loved working there but with clientele, as well,” Mr. Campanale said last year of E.F. Hutton.

There also are parallels between the efforts to revive the E.F. Hutton brand and the history of Lebenthal Holdings.

In 1987, Shearson Lehman/American Express acquired E.F. Hutton, which two years earlier had been rocked by a scandal involving check overdrafting, for $1 billion.

The Hutton brand was dropped by Amex in 1990, when it changed the name of its Shearson Lehman Hutton brokerage firm to Shearson.

The Lebenthal brand has also gone through a kind of metamorphosis.

Even though the company was started in 1925, the Lebenthal firm was sold in 2001 for $25 million to MONY Group Inc., and joined its Advest Group Inc. brokerage unit.

In 2004, financial giant Axa SA acquired MONY, and in 2005 Axa sold Advest, including Lebenthal, to Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc.

Merrill didn't use the Lebenthal brand, which was sold back to the Lebenthal family in 2007 for $1,000.

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