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From Left to Right: Robyn Crewdson, Adam Biswanger, Jason Geisz, Bob Alati, Beth Silver, Suzanne Minster

Exclusive: $700M Morgan Stanley Team Goes Independent With Sanctuary

The four-advisor team will create Famiglia Wealth in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., Sanctuary’s first Michigan partner and fifth ex-Morgan Stanley team to join this year.  

Sanctuary Wealth, an Indianapolis-based support platform for breakaway advisors, has recruited a team of advisors out of Morgan Stanley, managing about $700 million in client assets. The team, led by advisors Robert F. Alati, Jason Geisz, Beth Silver and Adam Biswanger, have launched Famiglia Wealth in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., Sanctuary’s first Michigan partner and fifth ex-Morgan Stanley team to join this year.  

Sanctuary Wealth has become one of the fastest-growing platforms in the RIA space, with Famiglia representing its 18th addition this year. It now has about $18.5 billion in assets under advisement. Jim Dickson, a 20-year veteran of Merrill Lynch, left the wirehouse in 2018 to create Sanctuary, with the vision of creating a firm that felt like a wirehouse, but with an open architecture and a lot more freedom and flexibility.

That open architecture was a big lure for Geisz and his team.

“The fact that it’s open is very attractive,” he said. “When you’re captive at one of the big firms, you’re captive to what they have; you’re captive to their performance; you’re captive to their money management platforms; you’re captive to MoneyGuidePro versus eMoney on the financial planning side. And all those things when you add them up can impact how you’re doing your job.”

“[Sanctuary makes] it feel small, and that’s a big deal. The problem with the big firms is there’s just way too many people and way too many layers, and you can’t get things done. And that’s a big problem for an entrepreneurial-spirited person.”

Geisz also liked the fact that the team could choose from a number of custodians; they ultimately decided on Pershing.

Geisz said his team watched the momentum over the past couple years of large, like-minded and sophisticated teams leaving the wirehouses and joining firms like Sanctuary, and that was a motivator for his own team to jump ship. He also spoke to four or five existing teams within Sanctuary, which, he says, look a lot like what Famiglia wants to be in a couple years.

“I’ve watched what has occurred with them in the first year, year and half, almost two years, and their model is similar to what my model would be also, which is, this isn’t just a transition to stay where we’re at; it’s a transition to get into hyper growth mode, via acquisition of other RIAs or of other wirehouse breakaways,” he said. “And from what I’ve seen, Sanctuary has a really good model for that.”

Geisz said his firm expects to acquire other RIAs and, possibly, recruit other breakaways, with the help of Sanctuary’s connections.

“We already have some of those opportunities that we’re going to consider, but we have to focus on our clients first,” he said.

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