$500M ex-Merrill Lynch team joins Sanctuary

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A $500 million Merrill Lynch team is joining Sanctuary Wealth, the broker-dealer announced Friday.

Ausperity Private Wealth, a Moorestown, New Jersey-based team, is led by founder and senior managing partner Rory O’Hara. It is the eighth group to join Sanctuary from Merrill Lynch this year.

Ausperity Private Wealth.

Ausperity Private Wealth.

Each member of the four-person team is under 40 years old and they have a combined 40 years of professional experience, Sanctuary said in a press release.

Hiring younger people means “they could obviously have a longer potential career at the new firm compared to advisors with only 5-10 years left in their careers,” said Andrew Tasnady, managing partner at Tasnady and Associates.

A spokesperson for Merrill did not respond to a media request by press time.

Joining Sanctuary from a large organization like Merrill “takes the handcuffs off,” said Jim Dickson, CEO of California-based Sanctuary Wealth in an interview with Financial Planning .

“It’s really large and so we’re sort of bound by this least common denominator and many of the rules and bureaucracy sort of puts this in a small box,” Dickson said. “Now they have so much more freedom and flexibility to brand themselves and market themselves and to serve clients. They’re already a world class growth firm, but now they have a lot more freedom and flexibility that growth is just only going to really explode.”

He said that fintech innovations are adding more tools to advisors’ toolbox and more “interest and movement towards independence.”

“I think we’re in the third or fourth inning of the market and it’s just going to pick up steam as we go forward because the technology and the ease of use just keeps getting better and better,” he said.

O’Hara has 15 years of experience working at four firms, including Morgan Stanley and Ameriprise, according to BrokerCheck.

Sanctuary Wealth’s support in compliance oversight, advice for executing daily and yearly goals and access to tools were part of the reason Ausperity Private Wealth went to Sanctuary, O’Hara said.

“We didn’t know that we did enough, so we felt that partnering with a firm like Sanctuary was the ultimate best fit for our clients, and that’s what really mattered to us and allowed us to continue to be advisors and do what’s best for our clients, which is our main goal at the end of the day,” he said.

He said in the statement the team conducted two years of “due diligence before we decided that Sanctuary is the best fit for our team.”

“The access that we are going to be able to provide to clients — access to private market investments, which has been an area of increased client attention. Also, just helping us with the access to best in class financial planning software that will give us the ability to model tax minimization strategies more effectively, etc,” he said in an interview with Financial Planning.

Advisors with strong client relationships are attracted to the independent channel because it offers more flexibility to service their needs, said recruiter Mark Elzweig.

“Firms are especially on the lookout to hire advisors who are in a growth mode and who can leverage their platforms to increase their business,” he said.

Dickson said the process to transition a practice to Sanctuary takes anywhere between 90 to 120 days and he expects the team to be “on the low side of that.”

“We’ve got a very, very robust pipeline,” adding that five to 10 teams are signing up to join them “between now and the early part of next year.”

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