Kalamazoo-based Greenleaf Trust, a privately-held wealth management firm, recently announced the opening of its new downtown Grand Rapids offices at 25 Ottawa Avenue after purchasing the building in conjunction with Catalyst Development.
John Gryzbek has been hired as the new Director of the Family Office, and Thomas DeMeester will serve as Managing Director of the new Grand Rapids Greenleaf offices.
DeMeester says the firm now plans to develop about 5,500 square feet of the ground floor to serve as office space, with more room to grow.
“I think GreenLeaf trust has targeted Grand Rapids because, historically, it’s looked at it as a community that I would say has a good cultural fit for Greenleaf Trust, how they’ve serviced their client base, and the types of clients that resonate well with their service model,” says DeMeester, who prior to joining Greenleaf Trust served as Senior Wealth Strategist at Northern Trust Company and Sales Director in the Private Bank division of Fifth Third Bank.
“I joined Greenleaf Trust intentionally because I do think that providing a kind of ultrahigh net-worth service model in Grand Rapids is certainly an opportunity,” says Demeester, whose firm has experience in wealth management for clients and investors net worths over the $30 million mark. “There’s been quite a bit of movement within the industry, and some of the larger banks that have historically provided both local and very customized services have either centralized or listed out of that marketplace a commitment to the local team or local offices.”
DeMeester says his story in the Grand Rapids community, working in both the legal and wealth management fields, helps to validate a West Michigan community that is very relationship focused.
“It’s unique to both the culture and kind of the community, so having that Michigan-based trust bank like Greenleaf here as both a new presence and service model in the Grand Rapids market, I think, will differentiate us from many of the competitors that maybe historically had a strong foothold in that market, but over time have allowed the service to move out or, again, maybe [become] centralized,” he says.
With more than $8 billion in assets, the firm joins fellow 25 Ottawa Avenue tenants that include Spectrum Health’s Information Technology Department, Fairly Painless Advertising, and Iron restaurant.
“We will be committed to the community, and we will be supportive of organizations in that community, acquiring that space and building it out in a manner that gives us a presence that, I think, will be very effective in helping us introduce the Grand Rapids community to who Greenleaf Trust is,” DeMeester says.
For more information on Greenleaf Trust, visit www.greenleaftrust.com.
Written by Anya Zentmeyer, Development News Editor
Images courtesy of Greenleaf Trust