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May 13, 2019

Ex-UBS bankers launch Portland wealth management firm

Courtesy/ Great Diamond Partners Great Diamond Partners is a newly formed independent wealth management firm in Portland. The team consists of four advisors (standing from left to right) Joseph Powers, Jack Piper, Helen Andreoli and Steven Tenney; and three support staff (sitting from left to right) Susan Welsch, Andrew Scott and Meg Scott.

Four former UBS bankers led by Steven Tenney have launched an independent wealth management firm in Portland called Great Diamond Partners

Operating out of a leased downtown office at 22 Monument Square, the firm consists of four advisors and three support staff.

Tenney told Mainebiz on Monday that while all four advisors left UBS last Thursday and started Great Diamond the same day, the idea for the venture goes back two years.

"We have always felt a very strong obligation to do what is right for our clients, and without a doubt the right thing to do for our clients is to operate as an independent firm. That really crystallized about two years ago," he said. "At that point, we started exploring different avenues and conducting due diligence. That lasted for about a year, and then for the last year, we have been preparing to launch Great Diamond Partners in partnership with Dynasty Financial Partners."

Dynasty Financial Partners, which is based in New York, will act as the new firm's back and middle office. It has an integrated "core services" platform for independent advisors and what was described as a turn-key asset management platform. It also offers "significant scale" in the industry, the Great Diamond partners said in the news release.

"They are really smart consultants in so many different areas," Tenney told Mainebiz. "They know our business, and they're able to identify what solution will work best for us and our clients."

Tenney declined to disclose the new firm's assets under management, but said that the four partners had collectively managed $530 million in client assets at UBS.

Asked whether there's any link between the new firm and the Casco Bay island of the same name, Tenney said: "We wanted a name that would mean something to people in the greater Portland area, and that could translate well to other parts of the country. There's also an obvious correlation between diamonds and wealth."

The team behind Great Diamond Partners

Tenney, who had been with UBS since 1993, most recently as senior vice president and senior portfolio manager, is CEO of the new venture.

The other advisers are Jack Piper, Joseph Powers and Helen Andreoli. Support staff are Susan Welsch, Andrew Scott and Meg Scott.

Tenney sees his CEO role as a dual one, noting that he's responsible for both leading and supporting the team.

He said what sets the new firm apart from the competition is the fact that it's independent, community-focused and a belief "that the future of wealth management exists at the intersection of empathy and technology." 

While he did not disclose the number of clients served by Great Diamond Partners, Tenney reported an "overwhelming response" to the new venture.

Growth ambitions

Still the newest kid on Maine's wealth management block, Great Diamond Partners already has an eye on expansion.

"If there is someone in the wealth management world that fits our culture, and if they have talents that the firm and our clients can benefit from," Tenney said, "we want to talk to them. We're very much excited about our future growth." 

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