EP 26: How This Former Merrill Insider Once Drank the Kool-Aid, Then Set Out to Build a Better Toolbox
A Conversation with Jim Dickson, Founder and President of Sanctuary Wealth Partners
Jim Dickson, a former Merrill Lynch division leader, joins Mindy to share the inside track on what it was like to be in a senior role in the wirehouse as bureaucracy was on the rise, trust was on a decline and managing to the lowest common denominator became the new normal.
In his 20-year tenure with Merrill, Jim admits that he not only drank the Kool-Aid, he served some of it as well. But the big firm world that he worked in had become unrecognizable to him—and he could see first-hand that the changes were negatively impacting advisors, their businesses and their clients.
Then his curiosity about independence and desire to “build a better toolbox” won over, leading him to create Sanctuary Wealth Partners, an independent division of Noyes Group LLC.
In this episode, Jim openly discusses:
- Why he left behind a 20-year career as a senior leader with Merrill Lynch to build an independent firm.
- What his biggest frustrations and regrets are from his time in the wirehouse world.
- What’s lacking in the wirehouse world and how that impacts an advisor’s ability to serve his clients.
- How a culture of managing to profitability is driving advisors out of the wirehouses and on to independence and alternative models.
- What he identifies as the best environment for advisors to grow and thrive in.
- Acknowledging the ever-increasing shift to independence, Jim shares an astute observation: The safety of the “big box” that the wirehouses once represented has since been replaced with a much smaller box that many advisors find they no longer fit in.
It’s an intimate and intense conversation that you don’t want to miss.
About Jim Dickson:
Jim is the President and Founder of Sanctuary Wealth Partners and serves on the Board of Directors of Noyes Group, LLC. He is the visionary behind Sanctuary Wealth Partners. He led the founding, development and launch of this innovative, partnered independent division of Noyes. Having spent 20 years building and leading advisor teams, he knows what successful advisors need — and what they want.
As an entrepreneur and investor with multiple successful startup businesses, Jim possesses unique experience leading and building organizations of all sizes. He knows the importance the right leadership can provide as well as the stability and infrastructure the right firm can deliver. The network of independent advisors teams serving high-net-worth clients with a partner that handles day-to-day compliance and operations is the model of the future.
Jim began his career at Ernst & Young and then joined Merrill Lynch. At Merrill Lynch he quickly advanced into executive leadership after building a successful practice serving clients. He served as a Managing Director and held many national roles, including five years as Division Executive for the 13-state Greater Midwest Division. After 20 years at Merrill Lynch, Jim accepted the opportunity to join Noyes as its President and part owner to help lead it into the future.
Jim has been recognized in both Indianapolis Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 and Butler University’s Top 50 under 50. He serves on the board of the Zionsville Baseball Club, coaches in the Indiana Bulls Baseball Organization and volunteers as a judge for the national FFA convention each year.
Since 2014, Jim has served as a Trustee for Butler University, where he earned his B.S. in Accounting, attending on a baseball scholarship. Jim and his wife, Allison, have four children and reside in Zionsville, Indiana.