Wilmington Trust Corp. has added 18 wealth managers in the Southeast in the past five months, and says it plans to keep expanding in the region.

Looking to cross-sell more products and services to existing customers, the Delaware company added all of the wealth managers to its two offices in Atlanta, which cater to high-net-worth people in Georgia, Florida, Alabama and Tennessee. It moved into the region in 2002 when it bought Balentine & Co., an Atlanta investment counseling firm.

At the beginning of the fourth quarter, Wilmington Trust hired eight wealth managers from BNY Mellon's Atlanta wealth management office, including its regional head, Jack Sawyer.

Mark Graham, the head of Wilmington's wealth advisory services group, said in an interview Wednesday that the company plans to add more in the region, but he would not pinpoint where or how many.

"When we are convinced that there is an opportunity in a region, we try not to take an incremental approach," he said. "We are convinced that there is a sizable opportunity in and around Atlanta, and we will add people as opportunities arise, but we won't hire just for numbers' sake."

Wilmington, which has about 600 wealth managers nationally, serving people with at least $3 million of assets, is interested in adding advisers with "expertise and client relationships," Graham said. This strategy let the company increase client assets under management by 15% overall last year, to $42 billion.

Ted T. Cecala, the company's chief executive officer, has said that it plans to buy into Chicago, Minneapolis, Northern California and Dallas/Fort Worth. "We have a few holes in the footprint," he said. "We want to expand. By acquiring a book of business with a good group of referrals, we can build a strong foothold in a region."

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