Title Guaranty sells stake to national company
Title Guaranty, a title and escrow company with Hawaii roots going back to 1896, has sold a stake to Fidelity National Financial, one of the nation’s largest title insurance companies.
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Title Guaranty, a title and escrow company with
Hawaii roots going back to 1896, has sold a stake to
Fidelity National Financial, one of the nation’s largest title insurance companies.
Title Guaranty announced the deal to its 380 employees Friday evening. Financial terms of the deal were undisclosed. However, Michael A. Pietsch, Title Guaranty chief executive officer, said in an email that the Pietsch family will continue to manage Title Guaranty and maintain partial ownership.
“This innovative partnership means our clients and our employees get the best of both worlds — national support and resources, coupled with island-style values and our 121-year-long legacy of providing quality real estate services in Hawaii,” said Pietsch, whose father, David T. Pietsch, created Title Guaranty with Kenneth Makinney.
Pietsch said the partnership is slated to take effect in about 60 days and is not expected to change day-to-day operations. The company’s name will remain the same, he said. There will be no staff changes as a result of the deal, which is not anticipated to affect any of Title Guaranty’s 17 office locations statewide, said
Pietsch said he will continue to lead the company along with his brothers and his son. Pietsch’s brother, Jim, serves on Title Guaranty’s board of directors. Another brother, David Jr., is Title Guaranty’s board chairman.
Pietsch said Title Guaranty recently entered into its third generation of family leadership under his son Mike B., who in 2015 became the company’s chief operating officer.
“We believe being a
family-owned and family-operated company for three generations is one of our many strengths,” Michael
Pietsch said. “Our family values intertwine with our company values. Mike has deep experience in title and escrow, making him well suited to lead Title Guaranty for the next couple of decades or until another generation comes along.”
Real estate analyst Stephany Sofos said the lengthy expansion of Hawaii’s real estate market likely made it an ideal time for the Pietsch family to secure the company’s long-term future.
“A lot of times businesses fail after the third generation,” Sofos said. “A family business that has run for a long time may want to branch out. It’s an ideal time to do that because the real estate cycle is heading for its ninth year. We’re at the top of the market right now. Why not go out a winner?”
John Riggins, owner of John Riggins Real Estate, said the deal likely will provide Title Guaranty with the means to better compete in an increasingly national market.
“People here in Hawaii, we feel very special, and we like the idea of being able to support a local company,” Riggins said. “But that national infusion will help them get fresh ideas and new techniques to keep their family company going for years to come.”
Title Guaranty began exploring a partnership with Florida-based Fidelity National Financial several months ago, Pietsch said. The Pietsch family and Title Guaranty’s board of directors approved the deal, he said. Joining forces with Fidelity National Financial as one of its partner companies was seen as a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help propel Title Guaranty forward and secure our long-term position as Hawaii’s No. 1 title and escrow company,” Pietsch said.
Pietsch said Fidelity National Financial, a publicly traded Fortune 500 company, brings significant financial resources and expertise, especially in cybersecurity and fraud protection.
Fidelity National Financial could not be reached for comment, but the company reported $9.6 billion in 2016 revenue. According to a 2016 estimate from the American Land Title Association, the national trade association for the abstract and title insurance industry, the company’s overall market share was 33.7 percent.
Fidelity National Financial’s insurance underwriters include Fidelity National Title, Chicago Title, Commonwealth Land Title, Alamo Title and National Title of New York. The new relationship will establish Chicago Title as Title Guaranty’s primary underwriter, Pietsch said.
“My father started working with Chicago Title back in the ’60s, so it’s especially rewarding for me and my brothers to see this relationship come full circle,” he said.