Asset manager AllianceBernstein is leaving New York for Nashville.
The 51-year-old asset manager will move its headquarters from Midtown Manhattan to the Tennessee city and relocate about 1,050 jobs beginning later this year, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday. The company had 3,446 employees worldwide, as of the end of March.
Operations directly related to finance, such as the private wealth management business and sell-side research and trading, will remain in New York, the filing said. Legal, compliance, internal audit, human capital, finance, IT, operations and sales and marketing will move to Nashville.
AllianceBernstein did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the news, which was first reported by The Wall Street Journal. The Journal report said Chief Executive Seth Bernstein will move to the new headquarters.
Like many traditional asset managers focused on stock picking, the firm has struggled to keep up with the industry’s shift toward passive investing. AllianceBernstein reported a $6 billion decline in assets under management to $549 billion in March. BlackRock and the other asset management giants that dominate the world of exchange-traded funds have trillions in dollars under management.
AllianceBernstein disclosed in a 10-K filing for 2017 that it “began exploring several U.S. cities for the purpose of establishing a second principal U.S. location.”
A move “will take place over several-year period,” CFO John C. Weisenseel said during the firm’s earnings call last week, according to a FactSet transcript. “We would expect to incur transitional costs for the first couple of years before we achieve ongoing expense savings in the future.”
The cost of living is about 58 percent lower in the greater Nashville area than New York, according to Bankrate.
AllianceBernstein also occupies an office tower north of Manhattan in White Plains, New York, and has an office in San Antonio and smaller locations in 21 other U.S. cities. The company began in 1967 when Sanford C. Bernstein founded a private securities firm under his own name. It was acquired by Alliance Capital in 2000, and the combined entity rebranded as AB in 2015.
Shares were little changed in Wednesday morning trading, holding gains of roughly 26 percent over the last 12 months.
Photo: Joshua Ness