This Miami-based firm has a $50 million minimum

Half of the $7.3 billion under management at WE Family Offices is from non-U.S. clients

Dec 8, 2018 @ 6:00 am

By Jeff Benjamin

It is interesting and rare that half of the $7.3 billion under management at WE Family Offices is from non-U.S. clients. But what's even more interesting is that when the firm launched five years ago, there were no U.S. clients.

"Our domestic growth has been strong, but it's not that we've acquired a lot of clients — it's that our clients are big," said Maria Elena "Mel" Lagomasino, chief executive and managing director of the Miami-based firm.

Considering the $50 million minimum and average client liquidity of $150 million, "big" might be an understatement.

Regardless, the model of offering single-family- and multifamily-office services on a retainer-fee basis clearly works.

Firm's evolution

The launch of WE Family Office resulted from the spinning out of the international client business from GenSpring, which is now the private wealth management division of SunTrust Bank.

As CEO of GenSpring, Ms. Lagomasino oversaw the 2007 acquisition of TBK Investments, a firm founded in 2000 by Santiago Ulloa to provide financial advice to wealthy international families.

Following the 2008 financial crisis, SunTrust Bank, as the majority shareholder of GenSpring at the time, integrated the wealth management business but sold the international business to Ms. Lagomasino and Mr. Ulloa, co-founder and managing partner of WE Family Offices.

(More: Where in the U.S. are RIAs growing the fastest?)

The third managing partner is Michael Zeuner, who was a senior executive partner at GenSpring.

The firm now has eight partners and 50 employees, including 30 client-facing employees, serving 70 families.

Latin America

Most of the firm's international business is in Latin America, which is leveraged by the Miami home base, which Ms. Lagomasino describes as "the capital of Latin America."

(More: Midwestern magic? RIA assets soared nearly 30% there last year)

Domestically, the firm is serving pockets of clients mostly in Florida, New York and California.

Ms. Lagomasino said the future of the advisory firm was never taken lightly by her or the two other managing partners.

"The three managing partners make the bulk of the decisions, but we built the company as a 40-year partnership," she said.


What do you think?

View comments

Most watched


Schwab's Jeff Kleintop: Prep for volatility given China trade uncertainties

China could be considered a developed market in five to seven years , according to Jeff Kleintop, chief global investment strategist, Charles Schwab.


Young advisers envision a radically different business in five years

Fintech and sustainable investing are two factors being watched closely by some of the 2019 class of InvestmentNews' 40 Under 40.

Latest news & opinion

TIAA exits the life insurance business

The move is a big deal for RIAs, experts say, since TIAA was one of only a few insurers to offer fee-only life policies.

Advisers step up efforts to help clients manage student loan debt

As some Democrats campaign to wipe the slate clean, financial planners focus on limiting the amount students borrow.

Funding for Reg BI, other SEC advice reform efforts denied in Waters amendment

House likely to approve measure that effectively kills rule package, but it faces uphill battle in Senate

Wall Street lashes out at Sanders' plan to pay off student debt with a securities trading tax

Financial pros argue that a transaction levy will hurt mom-and-pop investors along with investment houses.

GPB paid B-Ds and reps steep commissions to sell troubled private placements

GPB paid commissions of 9.3%, or $167 million altogether, on the firm's private placements.


Hi! Glad you're here and we hope you like all the great work we do here at InvestmentNews. But what we do is expensive and is funded in part by our sponsors. So won't you show our sponsors a little love by whitelisting It'll help us continue to serve you.

Yes, show me how to whitelist

Ad blocker detected. Please whitelist us or give premium a try.


Subscribe and Save 60%

Premium Access
Print + Digital

Learn more
Subscribe to Print