Sanctuary Wealth announced this morning that it had acquired RIA platform Tru Independence, a Portland, Oregon-based enterprise that supports 30 RIA firms managing $12.5 billion in client assets. The combination of Sanctuary and tru creates a powerful platform for financial advisors, offering a wide range of independent business model options for different types of advisors.

When the transaction is completed, the firms will operate as distinct entities, maintaining their existing well-established brands, according to a prepared statement. Management intends to working together to provide the best of each firm’s offerings. The combined entity will support approximately 120 independent wealth management firms managing over $42 billion of client assets across 30 states. 

Indianapolis-based Sanctuary was started in 2018 largely by a group of former Merrill executives and has sought to create a high-touch service culture. In an interview yesterday, executives said they would seek to continue to focus on both organic growth and acquisitions. Sanctuary CEO Adam Malamed said in an interview that the typical office for both firms manages about $350 million or more.

In February 2023, Sanctuary's board of directors replaced its founder, Jim Dickson, with Adam Malamed as CEO. Malamed reportedly started to look for ways to expand the firm almost immediately.

“Sanctuary and tru have built their businesses on partnered independence, where being independent does not mean going it alone. tru is a pioneer in independent wealth management and an innovator in supporting elite advisors who wish to own their own RIAs. With a well-earned reputation for authenticity and transparency, tru's core values align with Sanctuary's. Together, the firms have an unprecedented opportunity to collectively redefine what it means to be a full-service, multi-channel independent wealth management enterprise that specializes in supporting only the most successful financial advisors with sophisticated businesses and accomplished clients,” Malamed said in a prepared statement.

This transformative acquisition significantly enhances our support for the industry’s most elite advisors everywhere, from wirehouse breakaways to already independent advisors,” Malamed continued in the statement. “Moreover, consistent with Sanctuary’s guiding vision, this transaction reinforces our commitment to providing partner firms with unequaled freedom, flexibility, control and now adds even greater levels of choice. Each growth initiative we undertake, including this acquisition, is about empowering financial advisors by firmly putting them in the driver’s seat and providing them with the level of support they want in order to focus on supporting their clients and building the equity value of their own businesses.”

Craig Stuyland founded tru Independence in 2014 and is the firm's CEO, the release continued. tru empowers investment advisors, whether starting their journey toward independence, transitioning to the next phase of their business or seeking greater ongoing operational efficiency. tru's platform provides the full suite of services independent advisors need to manage and grow their practices.

According to the release, Sanctuary uses a multi-custodial, hybrid model that successfully aimed at supporting former wirehouse advisors who want to enjoy the benefits of owning an independent wealth management firm while entrusting the regulatory responsibilities associated with running an RIA to someone else. In a parallel part of the wealth management world, tru has catered to top advisors who wish to have their own independent regulated entity with the support of experienced professionals, the firms said. The combination of Sanctuary and tru creates an enterprise with the expertise and objectivity to offer unbiased guidance on which independent model is best for each advisor’s business based on their preferences and goals. 

“Sanctuary is the undisputed leader in helping top wirehouse advisors establish their independence with their multi-custody, corporate RIA model. Rooted in our shared commitment to providing advisors ultimate choice, the combination of Sanctuary and tru will fundamentally transform the RIA ecosystem,” Stuvland said in the release. “Separately, both firms have successfully attracted top-tier advisors and practices, albeit using slightly different approaches. Together, we are confident top-quintile advisors across the wealth management space will quickly appreciate everything our expanded enterprise represents and will be eager to take advantage of affiliation options that best suit their practices, staff and clients.”

KPMG was Sanctuary's due diligence advisor, and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP was Sanctuary’s legal advisor. ECHELON Partners served as the exclusive sell-side financial advisor to tru, while Winthrop & Weinstine served as tru’s legal counsel.