Family Office

Bessemer Trust unveils private-business services

FWR Staff February 16, 2007

Bessemer Trust unveils private-business services

Alexa Willson to spearhead multifamily office's Private Company Initiative. Bessemer Trust has hired investment-banking veteran Alexa Willson to lead its new Private Company Initiative. The New York-based wealth-management firm says it's the suite of services is meant to extend its advisory offerings to address the peculiar needs of private-company owners.

"In the next decade, we expect to witness the largest ever transfer of private business ownership from one generation to the next," says Robert Elliot, Bessemer's head of client-account management and business development. Such transfers can be complicated and "sensitive," he adds. Making them work means taking into account family dynamics as well as the state and future needs of the business itself.


With that in mind, Bessemer's Private Company Initiative seeks to balance matters pertaining to the business and family-stewardship that private-business owners are faced with, and to do so "in a highly integrated manner." The services include business-succession planning, corporate-finance counseling, estate and tax planning, asset management and philanthropic advisory.

Willson comes to the task from New York-based Mille Capital, a boutique investment bank focused on private equity and mergers and acquisitions for early-stage anf middle-market companies that she founded and ran. Earlier in her career she was a senior v.p. with Kidder Peabody.

"Alexa is a very experienced investment banker who has worked for decades with numerous family businesses, and understands how to effectively address the issues that private companies often face," says Elliot.

Willson reports to Elliot. From time to time she will also work with Bryant Seaman III, head of a distinct Bessemer unit created late in 2005 to help families sort through succession planning and financing issues related to their businesses and private investments.

New York-based Bessemer, which turns 100 this year, says it oversees about $48 billion in assets across about 1,800 "relationships." -FWR


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