HomeBlogInvestmentMorgan Stanley rep goes RIA with $5 billion book of business

Morgan Stanley rep goes RIA with $5 billion book of business

After nearly 40 years in the wirehouse channel, Jim Martin is going independent, taking a $5 billion book of business to the custodial and back-office platforms at Fidelity and Dynasty Financial Partners.

Martin, who spent the past six years at Morgan Stanley, brings with him a four-person team as he launches a multifamily office and investment firm called Nordwand Capital that’s based Radnor, Pennsylvania, with a presence in New York City and Boston.

The transition trimmed Martin’s book of business by about $4 billion, which he described as part of the plan to create a registered investment advisory firm that targets families with a net worth of at least $100 million.

“The past several years, most of my time and focus had been on very large [net worth] families,” he said. “I’m gaining and clients are gaining a lot to have someone who specializes on high-net-worth families. The big part is, on the advisory side, there’s no question we can do as well if not better with Fidelity and Dynasty.”

The new RIA, which will operate like a traditional multifamily office, includes Nordwand Investments, which will be the general partner of several listed and private investment funds and opportunistic special purpose vehicles. The investment management component has received more than $250 million in seed capital for its first three funds from its founding family partners, Martin said.

“We needed to meet the needs of 21st century ultra-wealthy clients, which requires creativity and flexibility,” he said. “In response, we launched Nordwand Capital as a fully independent firm that is nimble and responsive enough to seize investment opportunities as they arise. Our new firm offers flexibility, speed and creative structuring, giving our clients more attractive investment options.”

Chuck Failla, who went independent a few years ago to form Sovereign Financial Group, described Nordwand Capital as “another testament to how the RIA space can support advisers that service the mass affluent all the way up to the uber-rich.”

“At $5 billion, they are a big, big shop,” Failla said. “It also seems like they are on board with alternatives, which is not surprising since they seem to service ultra-high-net-worth clients.”

David DeVoe, founder and chief executive of DeVoe & Co., said the move by Martin is the largest breakaway he has seen in a few years, but that he expects the trend of larger breakaways to accelerate.

“Multifamily office and ultra-high-net-worth service can be a bit complicated, and historically you had to choose between offering your clients a wide breadth of services and having lower profitability or offering fewer services and having higher profitability,” DeVoe said.

What’s changing, he explained, is the expansive and technologically advanced products and services that are coming from custodians and back- and middle-office providers to enable RIAs to better compete with the wirehouse reps.

“It’s clear the team made this decision because it’s in the best interest of their clients,” said Dynasty CEO Shirl Penney.

“This is one of the largest fully independent firms launching in 2022 and it shows the continuation of the trend of the most successful financial advisers and investment professionals moving toward full independence,” he added. “We are delighted to welcome Jim and the whole Nordwand team to the Dynasty Network.”

John Phillips, head of platform sales at Fidelity Institutional, was similarly elated with the new business coming from Nordwand.

“We are thrilled to work with the Nordwand team on our common mission of meeting the complex needs of ultra-wealthy clients and helping to serve multigenerational families,” he said. “Our commitment to independence continues as we welcome another team to the Fidelity platform, and we are excited to collaborate with Dynasty to help Nordwand Capital grow and help their clients achieve their goals.”

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