Three partners from two offices in Madison, WI, and Northern California, opt for supported independence on Steward’s 1099 platform with Pershing as custodian.
Mark Morasky, Erik Clay, and Chris Figaro worked as a team from two Merrill offices: Mark in Walnut Creek, California, and Erik and Chris in Madison, Wisconsin.
Together they built a business managing $450 million in client assets. The team differentiated themselves at Merrill with their sophisticated alternative investment capabilities and familiarity with multiple types of complex alts.
Yet despite their success, they wanted more control over technology and vendors, as well as how the business was run and the clients they chose to work with. Plus, they desired the freedom to have their own brand—and remove limitations in marketing and communicating with clients and prospects.
They remarked that the integration between banking, traditional investments, alts, and planning was great at Merrill, but they wanted to move away from the bank-centric environment.
Like many of their peers, they were frustrated by a culture that managed to the lowest common denominator. And while they were comfortable with their own trajectory, they were not feeling the same about Merrill’s path.
The team came to Diamond Consultants with the thought of exploring independence. We started with an educational process of the various forms of independence in tandem with some guided soul-searching to determine just how independent they wanted to be.
The team concluded that they wanted a “supported independence” model that would help with the heavy lift of start-up and help manage middle- and back-office operations along the way. They gravitated toward models that offered capital for offsetting deferred compensation, plus allowed them to own the business.
Given their business model focused around alts, they required a multi-custodial model with a custodian that was strong in this area—and the educational process helped them to identify that instead of being constrained by one custodian and platform, they liked how much more access they would gain as a multi-custodial hybrid RIA.
And ultimately, they required a new firm to not only match the access and platform depth of Merrill but to expand beyond both.
They opted for $30B independent firm Steward Partners Global Advisory, with Pershing as their custodian. Steward won because the firm’s leadership demonstrated the value of the partnership, featured multiple leading custodians, and took on much of the work the team wanted to outsource.
For the team, it checked off many of their requirements—including owning their business, having meaningful ownership in Steward, and, most importantly, providing a better platform for them to serve clients. At the end of the day, Steward’s 1099 model provided the right amount of independence and support for the newly launched Vantage Point Wealth Partners to meet its goals now and in the future.
Diamond Consultants is pleased to have represented Mark, Erik, and Chris and looks forward to hearing more about the success of Vantage Point Wealth Partners in the future.