Fidelity, Sanctuary, Integrated Partners: 5 movements and agreements

Talent and capital shifts accelerated in the weeks following the July 4 holiday, reflecting a lot of turnover alongside the growth of registered investment advisers and other wealth managers.

Five distinct movements and chords described below apparently have little to do with each other. But beneath the surface, a theme emerges: There’s an accelerating flow among independent wealth managers and those who work with them.

The huge number of RIAs and assets under management explain why the number of transactions and movements is not slowing down from its record pace amid inflation and stock volatility. In 2021, the number of SEC-registered consulting firms jumped 7%, or 926 new RIAs, to a new high of 14,806, according to an annual report study released last month by the Investment Adviser Association and ComplySci’s NRS. And their assets under management jumped 17% to $128.4 trillion, another record high. Another research survey predicted that giant wiring houses like Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley will soon manage fewer assets than RIAs and independent brokerages.

The need for a “more personalized and tailored customer experience” led Jim Dickson, a veteran Merrill executive of 20 years, to leave the wirehouse to start Sanctuary Wealth, he said in an interview. Disruptive recruiting moves and M&A deals have expanded the firm’s footprint to 79 firms with $25 billion in assets under deliberation just five years later.

“What I saw was that the business was changing, and the future was really the independent model, when you look through the full breadth and depth of services,” said Dickson. “Clients vote with their feet, which has accelerated advisors. I don’t think they will slow down.

For a look at five recent moves and deals, scroll through our slideshow. To see a forecast of how client assets will evolve in wealth management over the next few years, Click here.

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