Citizens agrees to acquire N.Y.-based wealth management firm

PROVIDENCE – Citizens Financial Group Inc. has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Clarfeld Financial Advisors LLC, the company announced Monday.

Citizens said the deal would bolster its Citizen Bank Wealth Management segment with one of “the industry’s most distinguished independent wealth advisers.”

Citizens declined to provide financial details of the transaction.

Tarrytown, N.Y.-based Clarfeld was said to have approximately $6.6 billion of assets under management as of Sept. 30 and roughly $900 million of assets under administration.

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Citizens Wealth Management had $7.9 billion in assets under management at that time and approximately $26.5 billion in assets under management/assets under administration.

Combined with Clarfeld, Citizens said, the company would have roughly $14.4 billion of assets under management and $34.1 billion of assets under management/assets under administration.

“The Clarfeld acquisition provides a unique opportunity to accelerate our strategy of building a highly competitive wealth management business that is well-positioned to offer a comprehensive range of wealth management and banking services to existing and future clients,” said John Bahnken, president and CEO of Citizens Bank Wealth Management, in a statement.

As part of the agreement, Clarfeld’s founder and CEO, Robert A. Clarfeld would become the CEO of Citizens’ high net worth and ultra-high net worth division at Citizens Bank Wealth Management.

Citizens said that Clarfeld has more than 70 employees and will be retaining its offices in New York. A company spokesperson said that the company could not comment on terms of employee contracts following the acquisition.

“For 37 years our team has delivered highly individualized wealth management services through a fully integrated, multidisciplined approach that has weathered multiple market cycles, and shifting income and estate tax laws,” stated Clarfeld. “Citizens shares our deep commitment to delivering exceptional client-centric wealth management services. I am excited about leading the build-out of our combined private wealth platform. With a broader range of products and services, we will be well-positioned to provide an exceptional value proposition to existing and future clients.”

Clarfeld will continue to operate under its own brand name as a division of Citizens Bank Wealth Management, with Clarfeld reporting to Bahnken. The transaction is expected to close in late 2018 or early 2019, the company said, and is subject to regulatory approval from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, part of the U.S. Department of Treasury.

Chris Bergenheim is the PBN web editor. Email him at