- June 19, 2020
A financial advisory believes what it considers a different approach to wealth management, operated by a team of industry veterans with packed resumes, will be enough to compete on busy Naples’ Fifth Avenue South.
The firm, Transcend Capital Advisors, opened an office at 821 Fifth Ave. S., at the end of November. It’s the first Florida location for the Madison, New Jersey-based company, which operates a third office in Michigan.
The biggest name on the team is arguably Duncan Niederauer, a former CEO of the New York Stock Exchange. Prior to that role, Niederauer spent more than 20 years at Goldman Sachs. Immediately before leaving, Niederauer ran Goldman’s electronic trading business, and co-managed its equities and strategic investment businesses.
The idea behind creating the firm came in large part from Niederauer, who several years ago asked his then-broker Eric Schwartz to help him invest in a product not offered by UBS, which was Schwartz’ employer at the time. When Schwartz said he couldn’t do it, Niederauer proposed they go into business together, to help prevent this kind of outcome for their own future clients.
“When we opened the doors in 2019, we thought that the wealth management space was something that was certainly well covered. But when I finally had the time to focus on my own family’s portfolio, I realized the product set we were being offered was incomplete,” Niederauer says in an interview with the Business Observer.
In his mind, a lack of robust competition may have been driving a lack of innovation. “I think it’s an industry where the status quo is pretty comfortable for everybody,” he says. As a result, Niederauer suggests that most wealth management clients are likely owners of a “60/40 portfolio,” referring to a common asset allocation featuring a mix of stocks and bonds. While that approach to investing “probably never got anyone fired,” Neiderauer says his company believes there are greater returns available in the market than what a typical 60/40 mix can provide, with a similar risk profile.
Schwartz agrees. “There’s a lot more out there that we can source for our clients to accomplish their goals,” he says. As an example, Schwartz described a portfolio of debt issued by dozens of large, late-stage private companies providing a 10% return — the kind of investment opportunity larger companies in the space just don’t offer.
As an additional vote of confidence in his firm’s approach, Niederauer points to the fact that his family was Transcend’s first customer — meaning he has his own money in many of the opportunities the firm presents to clients.
So far, the pitch has been working. Since its founding in 2019, the company has grown its assets under management to approximately $2.4 billion, according to a press release announcing the recent physical expansion into Naples.
Schwartz will run the Naples office, bringing 25 years of financial advisory experience, including a stretch as a senior vice president at UBS Private Wealth Management. That’s where he met Niederauer.
It’s a market with which Schwartz is already deeply familiar: “I’ve had a house there for 10 years,” he explains, and his children are enrolled in nearby schools. “As a firm we wanted to be in Florida, and I can’t think of a better place to put the flag of Transcend. I love it (here).”
Beyond seeing Naples as a lovely place to live, Schwartz points to strategic advantages on both the supply and demand side of the market. On demand, Naples is of course one of the most popular destinations for high net worth retirees. On supply, Schwartz again points to Transcend’s ability to offer unique investment opportunities. “Service providers in this market cannot deliver what we’re delivering,” he says.
For Transcend’s success to continue, Niederauer says the company’s leaders will need to show they can scale their operations successfully, in part by retaining their talent. To that end, this year’s holiday party will be a special one, as an event for all of the firm’s employees will become an owner’s meeting. “Every one of our employees now owns a piece of our company,” Niederauer says.