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Private Wealth Expands Specialty Asset Division With Two Hires

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Several months after launching its specialty asset division in December, Private Wealth Asset Management is expanding that team to help clients manage assets and investments in oil and gas, ranches and real estate.

The Texas-based independent RIA has hired Pedie Monta as its new director of land and McKennon “Mac” Laas as senior landman of energy asset management. Monta joins from Wells Fargo. In December, the RIA brought on Bryan Frazier, previously a senior regional manager at Wells Fargo, and his partner Rodney Kleman, to form the new specialty asset division.

“This is a big differentiator, managing liquid and non-liquid assets together, and we are very pleased to expand our team offering these services to clients in Texas and beyond,” said Frazier, Private Wealth’s energy asset management head.

Monta previously worked as a senior landman for the oil and gas exploration companies Anadarko and Concho Resources (which were later acquired by Occidental Petroleum and ConocoPhillips, respectively) and believed his experience on the operator side informed his work in helping clients navigate the rewarding but complex terrain of mineral management. Operators in the oil and gas industry refers to the entity or company responsible for exploring and producing an oil or gas well or lease.

Like Monta, Laas is a certified professional landman (CPL), but is coming from a background in managing energy, farming and ranching assets. Most recently, he led Syndicated, a full-service land and mineral management firm he founded. Laas said his family had farmed and ranched south Texas land for generations, and while working at Apache Corporation, he’d formed Syndicated after numerous clients approached him for help. He found Private Wealth to be in the “peace of mind business,” for clients navigating negotiations with operators.

“We have a lot of depth not just in educational background, but experience in all of our respective industries,” Laas said about the Private Wealth team. “We’ve got experience in oil and gas, farm and ranch and real estate. I haven’t met anyone at Private Wealth who isn’t an expert in their field and (doesn’t) have multiple disciplines.”

In December, Private Wealth announced it had attracted both Frazier and Kleman, who had more than $1 billion in combined assets, to the new division focused on clients with significant land holdings, including many with oil and gas reserves. The RIA was started just months prior by several other Wells Fargo veterans, with $6 billion in collective AUM. 

At the time, Frazier said many of the clients held farms or ranches with drilling rights needing to be managed, and the new unit would help the firm serve a niche for those investors needing to balance real estate, farm management and energy concerns with their overall portfolio. It was a niche Frazier believed larger institutions had predominantly abandoned.

Monta detailed the back-and-forth clients may have with oil and gas operators, particularly if there’s a lease already in place for drilling opportunities. He hoped to help clients realize they had options beyond merely negotiating the terms of the lease, and wanted to dissuade them from the belief that nothing could be done to improve their situation with a lease in place.

“Just because they’re fully leased doesn’t mean we can’t service them,” he said. “We take a holistic look at the company negotiating with us or giving us an offer. We fully analyze all different options, and we have a unique service where we don’t only look at negotiating the lease.”

In the new role, Monta will be based out of Fort Worth, but will be working with a multitude of clients throughout the West Texas region, while Laas will be situated in San Antonio, working with his own wide breadth of clients throughout the state’s southern region.