Searching for the right culture is one of the most common drivers of change among advisors we speak with.
And it’s particularly prevalent with those who came from a traditional firm in which that culture once felt more entrepreneurial—with a well-known and respected imprimatur attached to it.
For Craig Savage, that firm was Goldman Sachs, where he began his wealth management career over two decades ago.
Yet things changed at the firm after the financial crisis. The culture Craig grew up with no longer felt the same: It had become more bureaucratic, and as Craig puts it, “There was an abundance of resources but also a lot of conflicts.”
So in 2010, he left for Credit Suisse, another big brokerage firm. While it seemed to provide what he was looking for, over time, it was just more of the same. That is, “the honeymoon feeling wore off,” as Craig shares.
Craig and his team started to explore the idea of launching an RIA until a serendipitously timed call came from Ryan Devore, the Global Head of Wealth Management and Partner at William Blair.
Ryan introduced him to a concept that fell between the big brokerage firms and independence—and the firm was looking to plant a new flag in Atlanta.
So Craig and his team joined Blair in January of 2016, and today they are managing $6.8 billion in assets for approximately 90 clients.
In this episode, Craig shares the genesis of his career with Mindy Diamond, including:
- His early days at Goldman—and what changes he saw at the firm that motivated his decision to leave.
- Craig’s shift to Credit Suisse—and why that path was not the best solution for his business.
- The transition to William Blair—and why the firm won out over all others, including launching an RIA.
- The unique differences in culture amongst firms—and why finding the right culture was so important to Craig and his team.
- The benefits of a firm like William Blair vs. independence—and why Craig feels Blair fulfilled what he sought in terms of freedom and entrepreneurialism.
- The importance of knowing your “why”—and how the knowledge of what you are looking to solve for can make a transition far less complicated.
- Plus, the secrets to his success—and what it really takes to build a $6.8B advisory business.
For Craig and his team, the motivation for change was driven by the desire for greater freedom, but likewise, as he shares, it’s also about achieving alignment with your goals and values—and ultimately rooted in your “why.”
It’s an episode for anyone looking to get a glimpse into more independent alternatives to business owners looking for ideas around maximizing growth.