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Law firm’s wealth management unit sold to Fla. group

Deal is biggest to date for Banyan Partners

Banyan Partners, a Florida investment firm, has agreed to acquire Silver Bridge Advisors, the Boston wealth management arm of the law firm WilmerHale.

The combination will more than double Banyan’s assets to $3.4 billion, as Silver Bridge brings $1.9 billion in client funds. Together, the firms will have eight offices and 70 employees.

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This is the fifth and largest acquisition at Banyan for Boston native Peter Raimondi, who grew up in Winthrop, attended Boston University, and for 20 years ran the Colony Group, a local wealth advisory firm. He launched Banyan in 2008.

“They do some wonderful things here at Silver Bridge that we don’t do,’’ Raimondi said, including what he called high-end family office service. He counts among his clients Ed Eskandarian, the advertising executive who built Arnold Worldwide and is a member of Banyan’s board of directors.

Raimondi said he intends to keep the 35 people working for Silver Bridge in Boston, plus five in San Francisco. Silver Bridge chief executive R. Thomas Manning Jr. will become chief investment officer of the combined company. In a statement, he called Banyan “the optimal partner.”

In 2008, Silver Bridge took a new name to distinguish it from its parent, WilmerHale, and later moved to a separate address downtown. But the law firm continued to own the investment group. Late last year, several lawyers in WilmerHale’s trust and estate practice left to join competitor Choate, Hall & Stewart, in part reflecting plans for Silver Bridge to spin off formally.

“There’s been a concerted path here towards independence for a number of years,’’ Manning said in an interview. He and 1o other executives will be equity partners in the new firm.

Terms of the Banyan deal were not disclosed. It is expected to close in August.

Beth Healy can be reached at bhealy@globe.com.
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