Christopher Poch, a chief architect of the wealth management platform created at Smith Barney some 20 years ago, has left Morgan Stanley to launch his own registered investment advisor on the tru Independence platform. Poch filed with the SEC last month to create Promethium Advisors in Bethesda, Md.
Most recently, Poch was a private wealth advisor at Morgan Stanley’s wealth management business, created via a merger with Smith Barney in 2009.
In a Jan. 31 post on his new website, Poch wrote that the decision to go independent was inspired during COVID-19 lockdowns when technological advances made it easier to offer bespoke services in an independent setting.
“Being independent offered significant flexibility for both us and our clients,” he said. “From location to research, analytics, trading, and planning, our choices are broader and more robust as an independent. Being independent enables us to offer technology that works best for us and allocate resources to the narrow niche areas our clients require.”
“A big part is teaching, coaching and mentoring,” he noted. “The other part is to hire, train, and empower associates. Service protocols and staffing ratios are no longer set from afar, client relationships will not be outsourced to call centers, and client surveys are embraced, not banned.”
With a focus on after-tax, compounded returns, Promethium offers investment management and financial planning for individuals and institutions, retirement plan advisory and access to a menu of third-party and sub-contracted portfolio managers. Target clients also include trusts and estates, qualified purchasers, individual retirement plan participants, and, less commonly, pension and profit-sharing plans, businesses, or other investment advisors.
Poch has partnered with tru Independence to gain access to reporting, custody, investment, compliance, trading, transition support and technology, as well as “other related services,” according to Promethium’s Form ADV.
"We believe this is a strong mutual fit and are fully focused on welcoming them aboard at this time," tru founder and CEO Craig Stuvland said in a statement.
Poch declined to comment for this article.
On the new site, Promethium specifically cites transition support and notes that fees paid to the tru platform will decrease as assets rise. The firm states the array of support services made it a more attractive option than “other service providers that do not furnish similar benefits.”
Promethium has also signed onto the broker protocol.