Firm History

Today, we’re a comprehensive advisor for the financial management needs of high-net-worth individuals, families, endowments and foundations. But we started as one man’s mission to do what his advisors couldn’t do for him.

How a small firm came to perform like a big one

Black-and-white headshot of Carl Tiedemann

Tiedemann Advisors was founded by Carl Tiedemann in 1999 as a trust company, originally known as Tiedemann Trust Company. A founding partner and, later, President of Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, Carl had spent decades on Wall Street. All through this time, Carl dreamt of creating a company that provided clients two things that his family was unable to get from the trustees who managed the family’s wealth: an open-architecture and flexible investment model allowing for client input into how their wealth was invested, and freedom to fire a trustee and take their money elsewhere. Carl’s dream became a reality when he founded Tiedemann Trust Company. He structured the company to be aligned with clients, not with its own internal products or incentives. That meant no proprietary funds or in-house inventories of stocks or bonds, and no commissions. It was — and remains today — strictly fee-based, client-focused and objective.

Carl invited his son, Michael, and Craig Smith to join him. Craig who joined from J.P. Morgan & Company, brought experience both as a trust and estate lawyer and as a wealth advisor. Michael brought experience from Banco Garantia in Brazil, later acquired by Credit Suisse. His experience in volatile and emerging markets proved especially helpful in the lead-up to the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008, when the firm made pivotal predictions and decisions that protected clients and their assets through the turmoil.

At the time Tiedemann was launched, most banks’ wealth management and trust departments relied on their own controlled money managers, which posed an embedded conflict. In contrast, Tiedemann Trust Company and the later branded Tiedemann Wealth Management would only allocate assets to independently owned money managers they could access globally. Today, the firm continues to use the open architecture approach across all asset classes. By expertly managing trust assets and being located in Delaware, Tiedemann could deliver great performance and tax efficiency to clients, as well as access to innovative trust structures and planning solutions. As time went on, the firm listened to its clients and added capacities to expand ever further beyond trusts. In 2016, Tiedemann merged with Presidio Capital Advisors, adding size and strength to its investment management offering and creating a broader national footprint. A year later, Tiedemann merged with Threshold Group, known for its impact investing expertise and work with large multi-generational families.

Today, Tiedemann Advisors is a boutique-style firm with deep knowledge and expertise in a broad range of services — but with the same open architecture model and focus on clients it has had since the beginning.

Let’s write the next chapter.

Now that you know where we come from, let’s find out where we can go. Together.

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