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Wilmington Trust Sells CIT Biz, Barnett to Lead New CIT Organization

Business Growth Strategies

Wilmington Trust, N.A. has announced an agreement with private equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners, LLC (MDP) under which funds affiliated with MDP will acquire Wilmington Trust's Collective Investment Trust business.

Upon completion of the transaction, the CIT business will become an independent company with a new brand name owned by funds affiliated with MDP, according to a press release. Rob Barnett, Executive Vice President at Wilmington Trust, will serve as the independent company's CEO.

The CIT business, part of Wilmington Trust's Institutional Client Services ("ICS") division, is a provider of third-party trustee and administrative services to asset managers and the employer-sponsored retirement market. The business currently manages approximately $115 billion in CIT assets for more than 550 funds across a family of about 45 subadvisors—including AllianceBernstein, BlackRock, Franklin Templeton, MetLife, Neuberger Berman, and Raymond James. 

"The CIT portfolio has shown tremendous growth since M&T Bank acquired Wilmington Trust in 2011," said Jennifer Warren, Senior Executive Vice President and Head of ICS. "We believe this is the natural next step in the evolution of the business and will help ensure CIT services and offerings continue to develop in ways that current and future clients will require to meet their investing needs. Furthermore, this transaction will enable our remaining ICS businesses to deepen their focus on clients and further optimize their products and services as ICS continues to execute its vision to become the global leader in institutional trust services."

"The CIT business is an industry leader, well-respected, and recognized for its successful track record of innovation. This transaction will help ensure continued growth for our business, people, and clients well into the future," said Rob Barnett, Executive Vice President at Wilmington Trust, who will serve as the independent company's CEO. "MDP has extensive experience in financial services and will add significant value to our newly formed company. We are excited about this next chapter and will continue to offer our strong customer-centric services to the retirement market with the substantial resources and expertise the MDP team will bring to bear."

The firms note that MDP's experience with scaling and growing businesses in the financial services industry will enable Wilmington Trust's CIT business to deepen and expand its trustee and administrative services customer relationships through increased investment in product capabilities, technology solutions (including the recently launched BoardingPass platform), and strategic acquisition opportunities.

The transaction is expected to close no later than mid-2023 and is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals. Raymond James is acting as financial advisor to M&T Bank, and Debevoise & Plimpton is serving as its legal counsel. UBS Investment Bank and J.P. Morgan Securities LLC are acting as financial advisors to MDP, and Latham & Watkins LLP and Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP are providing legal counsel.

Madison Dearborn Partners, LLC ("MDP") is based in Chicago. Since MDP's formation in 1992, the firm has raised aggregate capital of over $28 billion and has completed over 150 platform investments.