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Chris Griffith (left) and Henry Wheelwright

Goldman Sachs Lures $650M Former Morgan Stanley Team to Custody Platform

The newly created RIA, Stablepoint Partners, said Goldman’s research, investments and white glove service stood out.

An advisor team in Braintree, Mass., with $650 million in client assets, has left Morgan Stanley after eight years with the wirehouse to launch their own registered investment advisor, Stablepoint Partners. The team, which is led by co-founders Christopher Griffith and Henry Wheelwright, has chosen Goldman Sachs Advisor Solutions as their primary custodian.

“The research and investment insights we will have from Goldman Sachs are second to none, and a major differentiator,” Griffith said. “Further, their white glove service ensures we are not bogged down, and always focused on our clients.” 

“The company's lengthy track record as both thought leaders on investment solutions, and innovative thinking was an excellent fit for both our clients and the team’s mission of reimagining and elevating the client wealth management experience,” Wheelwright said. “The world is changing rapidly, and we wanted a firm that is aligned with our goal of positive and innovative change for clients.”

Stablepoint represents the seventh team of significant scale to join the GSAS platform in the last couple months, said Richard Lofgren, head of advisor engagement of GSAS. In July, Creative Planning struck a multi-billion-dollar custody arrangement with the firm.

“What we've seen particularly this summer is a real pivot away from just curiosity to commitment,” Lofgren said. “I think that this is a realization for advisors just as they've seen consolidation in the space, be it wirehouses or some of the other custodians that they said, ‘We really want to make our own choices for our own clients.’

The news comes two weeks after Goldman Sachs closed on the sale of its Personal Financial Management unit to RIA Creative Planning, which has revived the United Capital name. That move also eliminated some of the competition that Goldman Sachs had internally with its RIA custody clients, also serving the mass affluent market.

The sale of the PFM unit has generated more interest in the custody platform, Lofgren said. In a previous interview, Padi Raphael, global head of the third-party wealth business, said the sale of PFM puts a fine point on, “We don’t want to be an RIA. We don’t want to compete with RIAs. But we want to serve RIAs.”

On a recent earnings call with analysts, Goldman CEO David Solomon said the firm can now focus its efforts on serving ultra-high-net-worth investors, covered by the firm’s Private Wealth Management and Ayco businesses. PFM served a mass affluent clientele.

Lofgren said Goldman is not dedicating more resources in terms of people to his unit, but the ideas are flowing in.

“We’re seeing attention and focus from the other divisions across the firm that realize and recognize that this is a significant growth driver for the firm, and that it's an opportunity for them to bring some of their ideas and solutions and/or thought leadership over as well, too,” he said.

In September, Goldman appointed Adam Siegler, head of the third-party wealth business, Americas, within the global banking and markets division, to lead the One Goldman Sachs Registered Investment Advisor strategy, the firm’s coordinated effort to bring its capabilities across divisions to the RIA community.

“When you think about One GS, it's really around allowing the advisors to pick on that broad matrix or spectrum of capabilities that the firm can deliver and decide, this piece of research makes sense, this piece from asset management makes sense, this piece from a lending perspective makes sense, this from a custody standpoint makes sense and have us come together and bring those pieces for those clientele,” Lofgren said. “And I would tell you—particularly from what we're seeing with the breakaway advisors as they're coming out of a captive environment—is that they see the value of the brand, they see the value of the excellence across all those different lines of business.”

GS Select, Goldman Sach's securities-backed loan platform, is one of those capabilities. Lofgren said the firm plans to expand that offering in the couple months to give the ability to lend against things that have not been lended against before, such as alternative investments. That would be exclusive to GSAS clients.

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