Financial advisors Christopher Kenny and Edward T. Christiansen have joined Sanctuary Wealth to launch an independent practice, Muirwood Private Wealth, in Walnut Creek, Calif., an East Bay community, the companies announced today in a news release.

Kenny and Christiansen have been partners for the past 20 years, first with Wells Fargo’s Private Bank, and for the last 14 years with Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, where they managed approximately $500 million in client assets.

Kenny said in the news release that before he and Christiansen chose to go independent with Sanctuary, they looked at a variety of different models, including joining other firms as employees and setting up their own independent entity.

“The deeper our due diligence, the more obvious it became that by choosing partnered independence with Sanctuary we would be able to control our own business and be in a much better position to help our clients work towards their goals through smart planning and sound asset management,” he said.

Christiansen said in the news release that by partnering with Sanctuary he and Kenny would be better able to meet their clients’ needs—a crucial deciding point for them both.

“As an independent firm, we can be more objective than in a wirehouse or bank and find the right solutions for clients across a much broader spectrum,” he said. “And the technology we can now access will allow us to be more collaborative and provide clients with much better information.”

Muirwood Private Wealth is the fifth California advisory team to join Sanctuary Wealth’s partnered independence platform and the third in the state transitioning from Merrill Lynch. It is also the second team to join Sanctuary just this month, following the launch of Wigand Integrated Wealth on June 8. That team is led by another pair of former Merrill Lynch advisors, Reinhold and Samuel Wigand.

Jim Dickson, CEO and founder of Sanctuary Wealth, said in the news release, “It has been our mission from day one to liberate advisors across the country who are frustrated by the constraints of the wirehouse environment.”

In a June 11 e-mail to Financial Advisor, Dickson said the pandemic has caused a brief pause in the company’s recruitment pipeline, but that advisors still have an interest in moving away from large bureaucracies toward freedom and flexibility.

“That momentum, combined with the transition of an aging advisor force, makes us quite confident this will be a strong period of growth for partnered independence,” he wrote.

Founded in 2018, Sanctuary Wealth is headquartered in Indianapolis, Ind.