Beatrice Advisors launched to serve millennial and Gen Z investors from diverse backgrounds

Christina Lewis, founder of Beatrice Advisors, in her home office with a portrait of her father, Reginald Lewis.

Cindy Johnson

Christina Lewis had her first asset allocation meeting with her wealth manager when she was 13 years old.

I remember the meeting well, Lewis said. It was a turbulent time for my family. AND [the advisor] was the only one who had the information I needed and [knew] how to talk to me about this new world I was in.

That new world included a tragic loss and an unexpected inheritance. Her father, Reginald Lewis, founder of food giant TLC Beatrice International and the first African-American to build a $1 billion business, died at age 50 of a cerebral hemorrhage. Christina was left with a large fortune and few answers.

Over the next 30 years, Lewis would work with six different institutional wealth managers and 12 different relationship managers. Her experience and success in forming her own family office and running two foundations has led her to her new venture: a multi-family office targeting the next generation, targeting people like her.

It’s about families and their possessions and how you think about them, she said. When you’re inclusive, when you look at different perspectives, when you empower women, when you empower your children, when you educate your clients, when you allow them authority and autonomy and independence, that’s a better way to live. Your family will be healthier, wealthier, happier and more functional.

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Lewis’ company, called Beatrice Advisors, aims to change the traditional business of managing the assets of the wealthy and heirs. With more than $84 trillion expected to pass from older generations to younger ones in the next 30 years, according to estimates from Cerulli Associates, a market research firm, Beatrice aims to be at the forefront of heirs’ wealth management.

Beatrice Advisors aims to make education and access a priority since many new heirs will be new to wealth management, Lewis said. It will welcome a more diverse group of property owners in terms of race, ethnicity and gender. And it will take a holistic approach to a family’s assets, taking into account not only their money, but also their values, skills and life paths, Lewis said.

As today’s younger generations are more tech-centric, the advisory firm has spent years building a high-tech dashboard that gives families an up-to-date, unified view of their portfolio and assets.

We build the dashboard and advise customers, but they drive the car, she said.

Multifamily offices like Beatrice combine the hyper-personalized and confidential approach of a family office managing a family’s wealth and logistics with the shared costs and resources of an investment firm.

In addition to investment management, multifamily offices typically handle tax, trusts, family governance, philanthropy and legal matters. A growing number of ultra-wealthy families are turning to multi-family offices for intergenerational wealth transitions, given their expertise in family wealth dynamics and governance.

Lewis’ personal education in investing began when she was 7 years old, helping her father manage his stock portfolio. In addition to owning his own company, Reginald Lewis had a personal stock portfolio and appointed Christina as his broker.

I would read the stock charts in the newspaper in the morning, she said, and at the end of the day, after the market closed, I would call to close the evenings. And I had this notebook where I kept track of everything.

After her father’s death, she worked with her first wealth manager to pick stocks and build an aggressive portfolio. Among her stock picks: Disney and Limited because we talked about investing in what I know.

Over the years, its wealth advisers were constantly shaken up: firms were acquired and its relationship managers changed year after year. It was difficult, she said, to find an asset manager who sees you for you, not just an appendage of another entity.

Eventually, she created a family office, BFO21, and hired her own team. Beatrice will be separate from BF021, but will have joint team members and will share best practices, investments and expertise.

Meredith Bowen, a former partner at Seven Bridges Advisors who is now Beatrice’s president and chief investment officer, said the advisory firm will place a high priority on tax efficiency and customs tax structures.

“We’re really trying to create an investment infrastructure that’s specific to the individual taxpayer picture,” Bowen said.

Beatrice will target customers with net worths between $25 million and $300 million, though Bowen said larger families will benefit the most.

As an active philanthropist, Lewis founded All Star Code, a non-profit organization that provides young people of color with basic internet and coding skills. She also co-founded Giving Gap, formerly Give Black, a searchable database of verified Black-founded nonprofits. She is also vice president of the Reginald F. Lewis Foundation.

Lewis said that by making wealth advice accessible to a more diverse and young population, she hopes to help more families like hers.

When I was looking at firms, I wanted it to match the clients’ values ​​and style, she said. i feel like [Beatrice] it will be diverse and inclusive from the start.

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