$100M Morgan Stanley advisor goes indie to ‘make room for new growth’

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After 10 years at Morgan Stanley where he managed $100 million in client assets, Matt Meline left to set up an independent practice, PrairieFire Wealth Planning, with Sanctuary Wealth.

“The prairie fire itself, the actual essence of it, is that it burns away old messages and old material to make room for new growth,” Meline says of his newly independent practice’s name.

It’s the seventh breakaway advisor Sanctuary has picked up since June.

The ex-wirehouse advisor set up shop in Des Moines, Iowa. With this latest addition, Sanctuary has recruited advisors managing $2.2 billion so far this summer. The firm’s track record was a selling point to Meline. “I was looking for someone that had experience with firms transitioning out of firms like Morgan Stanley or Merrill Lynch,” he says.

Meline decided against joining other existing RIAs because he wanted the freedom to pick his own technology tools and marketing materials. “That entrepreneurial spirit was something I couldn’t let go.” Sanctuary, he says, “lets you be you.”

An advisor for 20 years, Meline adds that being independent resonates with his clients, some of whom are entrepreneurs. “Business owners have a unique situation where they’ve put their heart and soul into a business,” Meline says. “So I’ve just found a lot of synergy with those folks. We speak the same language.”

Morgan Stanley did not respond for comment on his departure.

Sanctuary, an Indianapolis-based network of hybrid RIAs founded in 2018, positions itself as a place to serve “frustrated” wirehouse advisors, founder and CEO Jim Dickson told Financial Planning in July. The firm intends to expand to 30 states by the end of year.

Recent recruits include an $800 million female-led team based in Indianapolis and a $455 million team in Houston.

Editor's note: A previous version of this story was corrected to show $100M in AUM instead of $110M in the headline.

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