Abbot Downing, the ultra-high-net-worth wealth management business of Wells Fargo, is ramping up its resources in Chicago. The firm has hired a former partner of William Blair & Co, a global investment banking and asset management firm, as a relationship manager and wealth planning strategist in its Chicago office, Abbot Downing announced Monday.

Michael Lee will join a team of more than a dozen professionals providing planning and family dynamic services, asset management, private banking, trust, fiduciary and administrative services, the firm said in a statement. He will provide content expertise in the areas of tax and estate planning directly to clients and work with Abbot Downing’s Planning and Dynamics team.

At William Blair & Co., Lee led its Corporate & Executive Services group, which helped companies coordinate cash management strategies and stock repurchase plans and offered financial education programs to their employees. Prior to joining William Blair in 2004, he was a tax attorney with experience in the areas of wealth, tax and estate planning.

Lee is the eighth professional to be added to the Chicago team in the last 12 months. The firm has been expanding its services in Chicago as it marks the one-year anniversary of the Abbot Downing brand launch. As part of its expansion, it will move into a new office space next year in the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Center, the firm said. 

“Clients across the country have responded very favorably to Abbot Downing and we’re excited to be expanding in Chicago,” Jim Steiner, president of Abbot Downing, said in a statement. “In our brand research, people told us they wanted an integrated offering of services combined with a high-touch client service experience.”

Since the firm was launched in November 2011 under the Abbot Downing name, its client assets have grown more than 20% to $33.4 billion, according to the firm’s announcement.  The firm is part of Wells Fargo’s Wealth, Brokerage and Retirement group, which has $1.4 trillion in client assets.

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