Manchester Capital Management (“MCM”) is a leading independently owned wealth management firm specializing in investment and financial services to high net worth families. Founded as a private family office, the practice flourished and has now become a Multi-Family Office (“MFO”) serving over 100 clients representing $1.5 billion of assets under management from offices in Vermont, California, and New York.
With MCM’s founder seeking to start the next chapter of his life, MCM’s Board of Advisors urged the development of a more formal ownership and management succession plan.
Having built this highly regarded successful MFO, could its founder / owner work closely with Bigelow to explore and execute a plan that optimized what the business needs, compared to the majority owners’ personal goals? What is the impact of the consolidating wealth management landscape? Who should be the next leader of MCM? Is there an investor that would value MCM’s independence and support it, but not interfere?
“I am grateful to Bigelow for shepherding me through this life changing engagement, where we have ensured MCM’s independence, objectivity, and client focus. We are freed to look forward and prosper while serving wealthy families as true fiduciaries dedicated exclusively to their interest.” Edward W. Cronin, Founder Manchester Capital Management, LLC
“I clearly remember that evening around a crackling fire in our Vermont library, when Pete asked Ted and me about where we wanted to be in three years personally and with the business. I could tell he was really listening. Thanks to Pete, Rob, and the great staff at Bigelow, here we are a little over a year later enjoying an outcome that was the perfect fit for us in so many ways.” Susan Read Cronin, Sculptor Stakeholder, Spouse of Founder
Bigelow’s first step was to positively explore and collaborate on the personal objectives of the founder and his spouse. Bigelow refers to these formal multiple off-site sessions as mapping the next chapter. They create a deep understanding of the tangible underlying personal objectives and sensitivities of the owners. This foundation enabled Bigelow to architect an engagement that ensured the longevity of MCM beyond its founder. By separating what the business needs versus the objectives and timing desires of the shareholders, a critical path emerged.
Bigelow proactively sought out and initiated dialogue with numerous world class acquirers and investors, after which it became apparent that a go-it-alone strategy was the optimal choice for MCM. Now freed from wondering what another firm might bring, Bigelow recommended the recruiting and retaining of a new President and implementing an internal partnership liquidity model. Ultimately, with a new President retained, a minority investment was made by a passive investor to create some initial shareholder liquidity. Bigelow’s engagement architecture allowed MCM to transition from a top-down entrepreneur driven leadership model to a management team owning the overall MCM vision and growth business plan. Equally important, enterprise value was optimized for the selling shareholders.