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$275M Merrill team goes indie with Sanctuary Wealth

Sanctuary Wealth is expanding to the West Coast with two new recruits that managed $275 million at Merrill Lynch.

Founded in 2018, the Indianapolis-based service provider caters to 20 firms with more than 50 advisors and over $8 billion in AUM.

This summer will be a major inflection point, a company spokeswoman said, as Sanctuary Wealth plans to entice over more teams from wirehouses and other brokerages in the coming weeks.

$275M Merrill Lynch Team Leaves

San Francisco-based advisors Brian Westcoat and Terry Murray made their transition on Friday and, in a nod to Sanctuary, named their newly independent practice Enclave Wealth Advisors. “In these volatile times, our clients are basically looking for shelter,” Murray says.

Westcoat and Murray have worked 19 and 17 years in the industry, respectively, according to FINRA Broker Check Records.

They began considering leaving Merrill three years ago, having observed what Murray describes as a cultural shift at the wirehouse in the years after its acquisition by Bank of America. “Over time, the culture of Merrill became the culture of the bank,” Murray says.

Murray says he felt that Merrill encouraged advisors to spend more time acquiring new clients at the expense of helping current ones. “It became intolerable.”

While the team considered multiple career options, they opted for the independent model because they felt its flexibility and technology options fit their needs best, Murray says.

For its part, the bank says that both Merrill Lynch and Bank of America offer an unrivaled platform for advisors to serve clients needs. The company also states that experienced advisor attrition rates are at historic lows.

Merrill’s advisor headcount, at 14,761 for the first quarter, was down less than 1% year-over-year, according to the company’s most recent earnings report.

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