Merrill Team Generating $5.2 Million Goes Indie in Indianapolis
Two advisors who produced $5.2 million in annual revenue at Merrill Lynch in the past 12 months have joined Sanctuary Wealth, an independent broker-dealer in Indianapolis led by a former Merrill regional manager.Elizabeth E. Evans and Brooke V. May were overseeing $800 million of client assets at Merrill, said James R. Dickson, Sanctuary’s chief executive.
Sanctuary was created last year as an independent affiliate of Noyes Group, which owned the 110-year-old regional firm David A. Noyes. The small brokerage plans to shed its original name and adopt Sanctuary as it focuses on the independent channel, according to Dickson.
“The economics are slightly better at the employee model, but the growth isn’t because everyone wants to be independent,” said Dickson, who is part owner of the company.
David A. Noyes has shrunk to about 20 brokers while the new Sanctuary unit has grown to about 55 since its founding 14 months ago, he said. Sanctuary last month hired Vince Fertitta, a former Merrill regional manager in Texas, to recruit brokers in the Southwest.
Joining Evans and May in Indianapolis are four client associates and Ian J. Flanagan, who advised on alternative “infrastructure investments” in his previous role as a managing director at the Indianapolis office of KPMG Corporate Finance, according to the company and his BrokerCheck record.
Evans’ father, Carl, retired from Merrill last year after a 44-year career with the firm. Ranked along with May as a Forbes’ Top Women Wealth Advisor, she will serve as a board member of Sanctuary, Dickson said.
Evans began her brokerage career seven years ago at Merrill. May first registered as a broker in 2000 at H&R Block, and also worked at Charles Schwab & Co. before joining Merrill in 2008, according to her BrokerCheck record.
A spokeswoman for Merrill did not return a request for comment on their departure.
The women partners worked with 225 families at Merrill, and were frustrated by the Bank of America-owned firm’s incessant push to grow the number of client accounts and to sell customers mortgages and other bank products, according to Dickson.
Merrill two years ago introduced a “flexible grid” that in 2019 shaves 100 basis point from payouts to broker that fail to add at least four new household accounts over $250,000 (while awarding an extra 100 basis points for hitting six household accounts).
Merrill Lynch Wealth Management President Andy Sieg said last week that the firm’s approximately 14,800 brokers are on pace to add about 47,000 new households this year, in part because of the grid plan he introduced two years ago.
Merrill Lynch and Sanctuary are members of the Protocol for Broker Recruiting, which permits brokers to bring rudimentary customer-contact information with them when moving among signatory firms. Morgan Stanley Wealth Management and UBS Financial Services dropped out of the Protocol in late 2017, and have occasionally sued brokers for trying to solicit former customers.
Sanctuary two weeks ago hired a two-advisor team in Walnut Creek, Calif. who it said were managing $275 million in assets and producing $1.6 million of revenue.