One year ago, Sanctuary Wealth, found itself in the middle of an unforeseen and abrupt change of executive leadership. Adam Malamed, former Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer and Director of Ladenburg Thalmann and then board member of Sanctuary, was appointed to take over the company, as Jim Dickson, the firm’s founder and then CEO, was terminated for cause.
As a firm that prided itself on being a destination for wirehouse breakaways and had built a reputation for supporting these newly independent firms with technical, regulatory and business advisory support, this disruption could have spelled disaster for Sanctuary.
After spending more than a month on the road meeting with the leadership of each Sanctuary partner firm, Malamed and the rest of the executive team sat down to assess the firm’s strengths, opportunities and, in their words, what they needed to do in order to continue attracting elite independent financial advisors – including wirehouse breakaways.
Malamed explained that one of the major areas of improvement and investment for Sanctuary would be in its tech stack.
Digital Wealth News sat down with Malamed and Sanctuary Chief Growth Officer Michael Longley to discuss the first year under this new strategy and where they see the greatest opportunity to leverage technology to drive growth in a competitive market.
DWN: This first question is for Adam: During your visits to the Sanctuary affiliated firms, what was the biggest concern you heard related to technology?
Adam Malamed (AM): In short, advisors told me they wanted tools that would drive the biggest efficiencies and allow them to spend more time with clients and prospects. There are several studies circulating right now that suggest that strategic application of artificial intelligence can increase the operational efficiency of a service organization by up to 66%. These are numbers Sanctuary cannot ignore when considering investments to support our advisors – and neither can our Partner Firms when exploring how they will support their clients moving forward.
Our Partners Firms want to better understand how these tools will enable them to support their clients while building equity in their businesses. We are working closely with several stakeholders to deliver these kinds of solutions.
DWN: Michael, the firm has announced several strategic enhancements to back-of-house and investment tech, including a comprehensive overhaul of your Haven platform. Have these tech enhancements been well received? Do your advisors see them as enabling their growth?
Michael Longley (ML): The enhancements to Haven have been very well received. Sanctuary strives to deliver solutions based on the needs of our Partner Firms, so when we started the process to enhance the platform we developed a committee, which included some of our Partner Firms, to ensure we capture what they needed and wanted, and then delivered it to them.
The major update to Haven we launched last June has simplified the interface our advisors use to research, develop and support client financial plans and offerings, and importantly to allow them to interact with one another through chat rooms, idea sharing and postings. Specifically, we added a robust data analytics function that aims easily illustrate trends, comparative metrics while tracking to their advisor business growth goals. Sanctuary also delivers a lot of content and materials to our Partner Firms through Haven and its archival systems. Partner Firms can access the information when it is right for them – allowing them to become more self-sufficient and thus more efficient. These tools, enhancements as well as fixing some pain points, allow Haven to become a better solution for advisors to service their clients. Everything Haven offers our advisors provides an opportunity to increase client wallet share and deliver for potential new clients.
DWN: Beyond AI, what area of technology will be the most important to foster sustainable growth for firms like Sanctuary?
AM: While AI promises to free advisors and support staff to better serve their clients, it’s only one piece of the complex puzzle that elite teams must complete in order to compete for and win business. We call our robust offering the Sanctuary Difference – it includes our alternatives platform, technology support, business consulting programs and much more. While critical, technology must be part of a larger strategic plan – one that we have in place and will continue to refine to best serve our Partner Firms.
ML: I couldn’t agree with Adam more – as we consider how best to support our Partner Firms, we look at their entire practices, what they want to achieve and how Sanctuary can best help them reach those goals. We are committed to investing in premier established and emerging technologies and will deploy them as part of our commitment to partner with our affiliated advisors to help them build equity in their businesses.