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Peter Mallouk Photo credit: Janie Jones
Peter Mallouk

Creative Planning Adds Goldman Sachs in Multi-Billion-Dollar Custodial Partnership

The mega-RIA will move 'multiple billions' of dollars to GSAS over the next few years, the firm says, as it opens more advanced investment strategies to HNW clients.

Kansas-based Creative Planning, a rapidly growing registered investment advisory firm with more than $210 billion in client assets, has struck a multi-billion-dollar custody arrangement with Goldman Sachs Advisor Solutions to bring clients broader access to institutional-grade investment and custody options.

The partnership will bring Goldman Sachs alongside Creative Planning’s existing custodians—TD Ameritrade and Charles Schwab, set to be merged over Labor Day weekend, and Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services.

“This important engagement with Goldman Sachs comes at a pivotal moment as we continue to elevate Creative’s offering to meet our clients’ complex financial needs,” Creative Planning owner, President and CEO Peter Mallouk said in a statement Monday. “By deepening our partnership with Goldman Sachs, our custody relationship allows us to benefit from an expanded set of capabilities and access to their unique products, services, and intellectual capital.”

Creative Planning is gaining access to a range of GSAS' operations, including a digital middle and back office for alternative investments, a lending platform, advanced portfolio analytics and investment products from across Goldman Sachs. 

"We will ultimately move multiple billions of dollars to the Goldman platform over the course of the next, let's just call it 18 months," said Jim Williams, the chief investment officer at Creative Planning. That includes assets from HNW clients in need of more sophisticated planning strategies, for instance those with single stock concentrations or who could use securities-based lending or access to alternatives. 

The firm won't be switching assets currently sitting with other custodians, Williams stressed, but rather Goldman brings new tools and strategies to bear with new Creative Planning clients, or a chance to expand wallet share with current clients in need of those advanced strategies.

Goldman’s RIA custody business officially launched with its acquisition of Folio Financial in September 2020, but has gotten off the ground slowly and with little fanfare. In June 2021, it was announced that Steward Partners would become one of the first post-acquisition custodial partners on the platform and by late 2022 GSAS was attracting successful teams from other wirehouses focused on serving an ultra-wealthy clientele.

Early on, Goldman indicated it would be focused on courting RIAs serving up-market clients in need of the types of sophisticated, personalized and institutional investment options its tech-savvy custodial platform is able to offer—and that advisor segment seems to be responding. In February, United Advisor Group launched on the platform with $750 million in AUM to take advantage of Goldman’s investment research and analytics tools, alternative investment platform and asset-backed lending. In May, Prime Capital Investment Advisors announced intentions to move $1 billion in client assets to GSAS in an effort to attract and better serve uber-wealthy clients.

“We share the same vision of an elevated wealth management experience in an environment where client expectations continue to grow,” said John Waldron, president and COO of The Goldman Sachs Group. “Our partnership brings together Creative Planning’s differentiated and comprehensive approach to financial planning with Goldman Sachs’ institutional product access and thought leadership through our One Goldman Sachs model.”

“This is significant news,” said John Langston, managing partner at Republic Capital Group, a boutique investment bank that worked with Creative Planning on its last acquisition. “Creative Planning is focused on delivering a broad array of things that clients want and need. It tells me they see the value in the Goldman custody offering and that Goldman is likely to be a major player going forward.”

The addition is the latest in a series of moves meant to increase and improve services for Creative Planning clients. Over the last 12 months, the firm has bolstered its technology, retirement planning, tax and business management service capabilities, while adding more than $8 billion in client assets across three acquisitions.

Mallouk told last month to expect a few more “key acquisitions” before year-end, saying Creative Planning will be “selective” while adding teams that “can make a substantive difference for our clients and team.”

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