Sanctuary Wealth has announced another new executive appointment, following more than a year of key leadership changes as assets plateaued.
Chris Shaw—who spent the last three decades with Morgan Stanley, including almost 20 as managing director—will join Sanctuary as its east coast regional managing director. He is stepping into a role left vacant by Paul Sullivan, who left early this year after less than two years with the firm.
Sanctuary replaced former CEO Jim Dickson in February with Adam Malamed and has brought in new heads of financial planning, investment strategy, finance, legal and compliance over the last year and a half.
“Whenever you bring in a new CEO, there are going to be some changes that go with that,” Sanctuary President Vince Fertitta said. “Some of the positions that we had were open prior to that, but we've had a period of rapid growth over a number of years, and that takes a certain skillset.
“And, while we're continuing that growth, we're also really focused on having top quality experienced operators and executors at all parts of the company.”
Citing Shaw’s long history at Morgan Stanley, Vertitta said the addition “rounds out” the wirehouse “languages” in which Sanctuary is fluent. Primarily focused on recruiting out of the wirehouses since inception, Sanctuary's senior leadership team now represents former executives from all four major institutions.
“It gives candidates a comfort level that we certainly know where they're coming from, and what they're trying to accomplish, and what they liked about where they were, and what they didn't like about it,” Fertitta said. “And then, of course, we have all the balance of expertise from the independent side that knows how to get them where they're going.”
In his new role, Shaw has been charged with handling all aspects of recruiting along the East Coast in a bid to lure the top 20% of wirehouse advisors to the independent Sanctuary platform. He will also serve in an “ambassador” capacity to Sanctuary’s existing partners, ensuring they have all the resources and support they need.
Based in the New York City metro region, he will report to Fertitta.
No more executive hires are expected over the coming year, Fertitta said.
Majority-owned by Azimut Group since 2021, Sanctuary hit $25 billion in assets under advisement in July of last year—four years after its founding and two days after receiving a $175 million “growth investment” from Kennedy Lewis Investment Management. Since then, the firm has announced no less than 16 new partner firms and three tuck-in transactions—while reported assets remained unchanged.
“I think we just probably need to update the numbers,” Sanctuary President Vince Fertitta told WealthManagement.com, insisting advisor attrition has been low and saying only two partner firms have departed over the last year. He also said there are currently 83 firms on the Sanctuary platform, representing an increase of only four since the company confirmed a total of 79 partners in August 2022.
A spokesperson added that an institutional client for which Sanctuary provides asset management services represents another $5 billion the firm simply didn’t make public, and that Sanctuary has grown other reportable assets to $26 billion over the last year.
“There's assets in transition throughout moves, and so I wouldn't read anything into it,” Fertitta said, explaining that Sanctuary advisors have a variety of ways they count assets, including those in held away and direct business accounts. “It’s really more about how you calculate those numbers and report on them. And it just hasn't been something that we've been focused on in the last, I guess, year. We brought on a new CFO earlier in the year, and that'll be something that I'm sure he'll do.”