A conversation with Craig Savage—Partner, Wealth Advisor, William Blair
Craig Savage shares his journey from Goldman Sachs to Credit Suisse, why joining William Blair ultimately won out over launching an RIA, how finding the right culture has enhanced his team’s growth, and much more.
NOTE: The views and opinions expressed by the guests on this podcast are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Diamond Consultants. Neither Diamond Consultants nor the guests on this podcast are compensated in any way for their participation.
About this episode…
Searching for the right culture is one of the most common drivers of change among advisors we speak with.
And it’s particularly prevalent with those who came from a traditional firm in which that culture once felt more entrepreneurial—with a well-known and respected imprimatur attached to it.
For Craig Savage, that firm was Goldman Sachs, where he began his wealth management career over two decades ago.
Yet things changed at the firm after the financial crisis. The culture Craig grew up with no longer felt the same: It had become more bureaucratic, and as Craig puts it, “There was an abundance of resources but also a lot of conflicts.”
So in 2010, he left for Credit Suisse, another big brokerage firm. While it seemed to provide what he was looking for, over time, it was just more of the same. That is, “the honeymoon feeling wore off,” as Craig shares.
Craig and his team started to explore the idea of launching an RIA until a serendipitously timed call came from Ryan Devore, the Global Head of Wealth Management and Partner at William Blair.
Ryan introduced him to a concept that fell between the big brokerage firms and independence—and the firm was looking to plant a new flag in Atlanta, Georgia.
So Craig and his team joined Blair in January of 2016, and today they are managing $6.8B in assets for approximately 90 clients.
In this episode, Craig shares the genesis of his career with Mindy Diamond, including:
- His early days at Goldman—and what changes he saw at the firm that motivated his decision to leave.
- Craig’s shift to Credit Suisse—and why that path was not the best solution for his business.
- The transition to William Blair—and why the firm won out over all others, including launching an RIA.
- The unique differences in culture amongst firms—and why finding the right culture was so important to Craig and his team.
- The benefits of a firm like William Blair vs. independence—and why Craig feels Blair fulfilled what he sought in terms of freedom and entrepreneurialism.
- The importance of knowing your “why”—and how the knowledge of what you are looking to solve for can make a transition far less complicated.
- Plus, the secrets to his success—and what it really takes to build a $6.8B advisory business.
For Craig and his team, the motivation for change was driven by the desire for greater freedom, but likewise, as he shares, it’s also about achieving alignment with your goals and values—and ultimately rooted in your “why.”
It’s an episode for anyone looking to get a glimpse into more independent alternatives to business owners looking for ideas around maximizing growth.
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Partner & Wealth Advisor
Craig Savage is a partner of William Blair and wealth advisor with the firm’s Private Wealth Management group. He joined William Blair from the Private Banking North America Business of Credit Suisse Securities. He had recently been appointed head of campus recruitment and development strategy for Credit Suisse Private Banking North America and LatAm US. He had previously worked for 12 years at Goldman Sachs Private Wealth Management. Craig taught calculus at Vanderbilt University and started his own business, Savage Sportswear.
Craig earned his M.B.A. from Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management and his undergraduate degree in mathematics from Vanderbilt. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and two children, and enjoys travel, aviation, and skiing.
Professional Recognition and Awards
- Forbes Best-in-State Advisors 2021, 2022, 20231
- Barron’s Top State-by-State Advisors in America, 2021, 2022, 20232
- Barron’s Top Wealth Advisors 2016 – 20233
1 The Forbes ranking algorithm is based on industry experience, interviews, compliance records, assets under management, revenue and other criteria by SHOOK Research, LLC, which does not receive compensation from the advisors or their firms in exchange for placement on a ranking. Investment performance is not a criterion.
2 The ranking reflects the volume of assets overseen by the advisors and their teams, revenues generated for the firms, and the quality of the advisors’ practices.
3 The ranking reflects the volume of assets overseen by the advisors and their teams, revenues generated for the firms and the quality of the advisors’ practices.