WE is seeking to have a more global presence, reaching out to the US market once their business is already well established in Latin America and Southern Europe. Santiago Ulloa, President of WE, explained in an interview to Funds Society that one of its objectives is to render services to individuals who have assets greater than $100 million.
Ulloa, who was the president of GenSpring Family Office International until the beginning of January, explained the process through which they got renamed to WE. Ulloa along with Maria Elena Lagomasino and Michael Zeuner, ex CEO and ex executive director of GenSpring, respectively, joined the new project of WE. Lagomasino, who is a veteran in this sector, was the CEO of JP Morgan Private Banking prior to joining GenSpring, while Zeuner has always worked alongside Lagomasino both in JP Morgan and in the final stage of GenSping International.
The three partners repurchased the business -TBK Investments-, which Ulloa sold 5 years ago to the American company, in an operation that was closed at the beginning of the year and in which several employees of the company were admitted as partners. Since then they have been working under the brand WE, which has integrated a hundred percent of its staff and all of its clients. The repurchased business is the international business while the domestic side remains within GenSpring.
Their goal is to build WE into a family office that will persist in time, so that 40 years from now it will be one of the major players and benchmarks in the sector. “We have already been the largest, now we want to be the best”, he emphasized.
WE, which manages Ultra-High-Net-Worth individuals, aims to help its clients in their overall needs, including asset management, taxation, legal, family governance and protocol, among other things, for which a non-discretionary service is offered. “In other words, a true family office”, emphasized Ulloa in his interview with Funds Society.
Ulloa states that WE gets its resources solely and exclusively from an advisory fee that is charged to the client for the services of the family office.
He put a special emphasis on the fact that theway they work allows them to differentiate themselves from many other businesses that have expended in recent times, but which, according to him, cannot claim the same level of independency or transparency.
“All values have been lost, all transparency has been lost. There are many players in the field. The problem that 90% of them have is that they dedicate themselves to financial issues. We are 100% aligned with the client. We are not money managers; we are consultants, strategists for the clients with large assets and we help them in all of the needs they may have, and not exclusively with their financial needs”, he explained.
WE identifies the best managers and puts them at the disposal of the client. They are very interested in private equity, while they are more skeptical when it comes to the hedge funds because they believe that currently there are too many players looking for the same opportunities and there are very few that bring any value.
They have an Investment Committee co-chaired by Ulloa and by Jean Brunel, president of Brunel Associates, who was the CIO of JP Morgan Private Bank in the past. From the committee a macro and a strategic vision is addressed, which is supported by an internal research team along with the support of third parties. “The decisions for asset allocation, strategy and product selection are made here”, he stated.