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CIBC Acquires Prominent US Wealth Manager

Tom Burroughes, Group Editor, September 3, 2019

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A familiar face in the world's wealth management industry - operating in the US and Australia - is taking on a wider counseling role.

CIBC Private Wealth has acquired Lowenhaupt Global Advisors, part of the 110-year-old Lowenhaupt & Chasnoff business which also revealed a new role for Charles Lowenhaupt, partner and chairman of the eponymous organization.

Lowenhaupt will widen his counseling practice at the organization of which he has been a partner for more than 40 years.

Some 15 years ago, Lowenhaupt & Chasnoff separated the advisory firm from the law firm to allow full SEC transparency in the advisory business and to maintain the attorney-client privilege in the law firm. Hence Lowenhaupt Global Advisors was born. Since then Charles Lowenhaupt has chaired both companies. However, with CIBC Private Wealth's acquisition of the advisory firm, Charles Lowenhaupt is no longer be involved with their business.  

Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed when Family Wealth Report asked about the matter.

A member of FWR's editorial advisory board, Lowenhaupt is also a published author and has spoken at a number of events on wealth management, inheritance and ethical issues associated with finance. He also has written a number of commentaries for FWR.

“I am pleased I will be able to focus entirely on helping clients achieve freedom from wealth without the responsibility of running a wealth management firm,” Lowenhaupt said. “I am also pleased our clients will continue to be well-served by one of the exceptional LGA team moving to CIBC and the legal advisory team at Lowenhaupt & Chasnoff,” he said.

“Charles is a visionary leader who has helped shape the family office industry for decades. His wisdom and experience will continue to strengthen L&C’s position as one the nation’s pre-eminent law firms serving individuals and families of significant wealth,” Carolyn Ohlsen, managing partner of Lowenhaupt & Chasnoff, said.

The firm was founded in 1908 by Abraham Lowenhaupt, Charles’s grandfather and run for many years by Henry Lowenhaupt, Charles’s father. L&C was the first US firm to concentrate in income tax law.

In Australia, Lowenhaupt will continue to serve as chairman of Lowenhaupt Global Advisors Australia, a Sydney-based wealth advisory firm he founded which is managed by CEO Brett Goodin.

The L&C team comprises tax, trust and estate planning attorneys who counsel clients and offer fiduciary advice to manage complex wealth management issues. Overall, its vision is to help private wealth holders and their families, it says.

CIBC acquired the Atlantic Trust business in 2013, one of the larger M&A deals in North American wealth management since the 2008 financial crash - an example of the continuing brisk pace of mergers and acquisitions in the sector. A related concern is how advisors exit and transition out of their businesses as they head towards retirement, particularly at a time of rising regulatory costs and changing client demands.

"The investment management business has changed, particularly for private wealth holders over the past 15 years. It has become commoditized without the nuances required in the US for private as opposed to institutional customers. Advisors need to consider whether they want to take the risks inherent in investment management without world class due diligence infrastructure when there is such great need for meaningful counseling around the issues facing individuals and families of wealth. Our decision was to place the investment management firmly in a world-class private wealth institution and separate it from the very counseling my family has offered for three generations and I personally find so satisfying," Lowenhaupt told FWR in a call yesterday.

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