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Mindy Diamond on Independence: Third Gen UBS Breakaway Finds Sanctuary

A conversation with Tom Stadum, managing partner of Fjell Capital, about his transition from UBS to independence with Sanctuary Wealth.


In spring of 2020, most advisors were in over their heads trying to figure out how they were going to guide clients in a world locked down by the pandemic.

Tom Stadum was managing $150 million in assets at UBS at the time. And while he was juggling the same upheaval that others were, it was also a big wake-up call to him: The wealth management world was going through an evolution like no other—and the thoughts he had already been entertaining about how his business needed to change grew stronger.

At not even 30-years old at the time, Tom realized that he had a really long runway to take advantage of the greater opportunities that existed beyond the walls of his brokerage firm.

So he dove head-first into due diligence – at a time when everything was virtual – and by August, Tom and his team launched Fjell Capital in Fargo, N.D., with platform provider Sanctuary Wealth.

Tom is a third-generation financial advisor: His grandfather started the practice some 60 years earlier at what was then Piper Jaffray. In 1992, Roger Stadum, Tom’s father, joined the family business and later became the successor. And Tom jumped on board right out of college in 2013.

Just two short years later, Tom’s dad signed on to UBS’s retire-in-place program (the precursor to ALFA), with Tom in line to take over the reins.

As someone still fairly new to the business, Tom admits it seemed like the only option at the time and, ultimately, he saw the program as a real opportunity for his dad to monetize his life’s work—as well as the benefit of taking over the book and building the business.

But UBS started to change in ways they weren’t happy with. And Tom began to see how the industry landscape was evolving around them—with more exciting options becoming available seemingly every day.

In this episode, Tom talks about this journey with Louis, including:

  • The changes Tom and his father saw at UBS—and how they retained their focus on best serving their clients while Roger fulfilled the obligations of the retire-in-place agreement.
  • The next gen perspective of retire-in-place programs—and how Tom handled the transfer of responsibilities from his father as well as communicating the transition to clients.
  • The choice to conduct due diligence and move in the midst of a pandemic—and how “the handwriting on the wall” indicated that waiting would only put his clients and business at a disadvantage.
  • The decision to go independent with platform provider Sanctuary Wealth—and why Sanctuary won over other options he considered.
  • And much more.

Tom is energetic and positive and shares wisdom well-beyond his years—with a point of view and relevant real-world lessons that both senior and next gen advisors will learn from.

Download a transcript of this episode…

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Listen to more episodes of Mindy Diamond on Independence: A Podcast for Financial Advisors Considering Change.

Mindy Diamond is CEO of Diamond Consultants in Morristown, N.J., a nationally recognized boutique search and consulting firm in the financial services industry.

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