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Practice Management > Building Your Business > Recruiting

Sanctuary Wealth Scores ‘Biggest Win to Date’ in Recruiting $1.5B Merrill Team

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What You Need to Know

  • This is yet another advisor team that Sanctuary Wealth has recruited from Merrill Lynch.
  • Sanctuary Wealth has welcomed eight advisor teams with $2.8 billion in combined assets this year so far.
  • In April, Sanctuary said it added Claybourn Frakes Wealth Advisory Services, led by ex-UBS reps.

RIA Sanctuary Wealth has added another advisor team from Merrill Lynch — this time Walnut Creek, California-based Quorum Private Wealth, an eight-person team that had operated as the Barry & Milligan Group at Merrill and manages more than $1.5 billion in client assets.

Indianapolis-based Sanctuary, which called the addition its “biggest win to date,” said early this year it added the ex-Merrill team Alluvial Private Wealth, based in Marion, Ohio with about $435 million in client assets under management. In early April, Sanctuary announced it had added Claybourn Frakes Wealth Advisory Services, led by ex-UBS-registered reps and its first sanctuary partner firm in the San Antonio, Texas, market.

Quorum is led by managing partners Mike Barry, who was with Merrill since 1989, and Kelly Milligan, who joined Merrill in 2000, according to their reports on the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s BrokerCheck website. The team also includes partners Sue Mazzetti, who was with Merrill since 2011, and Melissa Yue, who was with Merrill since 2014.

Merrill Lynch didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday about losing the team to Sanctuary Wealth.

Calling Quorum an “outstanding” team, Jim Dickson, CEO and founder of Sanctuary Wealth, said in a statement: “I know there were a lot of firms attempting to recruit them, not just because of their clients’ assets, but because of who they are as advisors.”

Milligan, for example, was “not only chosen as one of 13 out of what was then more than 15,000 advisors named to the FA Advisory Council to Management at Merrill Lynch, but he was also the group’s Chairman,” Dickson pointed out.

Barry, meanwhile, is “one of the most respected advisors at the firm and together with their team they have built their own brand within Merrill and we look forward to helping them take it even further,” according to Dickson.

The four Quorum advisors were “approached by every significant player in the wealth management spectrum including RIAs, family offices and private banks,” according to Vince Fertitta, president of wealth management at Sanctuary Wealth.

“The intellectual capital and wealth of experience they bring to our network will be invaluable, while the resources we can provide will help them continue the outstanding growth trajectory they’ve already begun,” he said.

Quorum “realized that with the level of service we deliver and the out-of-the-box thinking that our clients expect, partnered independence with Sanctuary Wealth was really the only viable option for us,” according to Barry.

“Early in our internal discussions we considered signing with another employee model, but realized that would have just been a lateral, or even a downward step,” Barry explained. “It became very obvious that the right decision was not only to go independent, but to do it alongside Sanctuary. We can look every client in the eye and say, ‘we think it’s going to be a better place for you, and for us.’”

Another advantage is that Quorum, as an independent firm, now has “access to Sanctuary’s completely open architecture, which means using the best that Wall Street can offer to find the most competitive, most compelling solutions for our clients,” according to Milligan. “We can spend all of our time focused on our clients’ interests and nothing else,” he said in the announcement.

Prior to joining Merrill Lynch, where he met and teamed up with Barry, Milligan had been a corporate attorney and a partner in a litigation consulting firm. The pair found that their approaches were highly complementary, and they were more efficient as a team than either was alone, according to Sanctuary.

So far in 2021, Sanctuary Wealth has welcomed eight advisor teams with $2.8 billion in combined assets, it said. The Sanctuary Wealth network now includes nearly 200 advisors at 49 partner firms across 19 states with over $16 billion in assets under advisement.


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