Indianapolis-based Sanctuary Wealth has removed its founder and CEO Jim Dickson for cause, but the financial advisory firm isn’t saying why.
Sanctuary disclosed last month that it had appointed an existing board member, Adam Malamed, as CEO effective immediately. That announcement did not include any mention of Dickson.
Malamed previously served as chief operating officer and board director of Ladenburg Thalmann, a network of wealth management and other financial services firms with 4,500 financial advisors, approximately $200 billion in client assets and an enterprise value of $1.3 billion.
The CEO announcement came just a day after Sanctuary had issued a press release in which Dickson announced that the firm had opened a New York City office. The release included a photo of Dickson and other Sanctuary executives at a ribbon-cutting.
Then, on March 3, Sanctuary filed a Form U5—a disclosure that the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority requires firms to file within 30 days after an individual leaves the firm.
In response to an IBJ query, Sanctuary spokesman Donald Cutler said the firm’s board had removed Dickson from both his CEO role and from the board of directors for cause, though he declined to provide the specific reason.
“We do not discuss former employees and the circumstances of their departure, nor can we provide additional information outside of what is in a regulatory filing,” Cutler said in an email. “Regardless of the circumstances of Jim Dickson’s termination, this CEO change was made from a position of strength. Sanctuary is growing, well-capitalized and in the strongest financial position in its history. Over the past 30 days, Sanctuary has completed a smooth and seamless CEO transition, as we embark on the next stage of our growth vision, which continues to prioritize the success of our partner firms above all else.”
Dickson’s attorney, Brian Hamburger of New Jersey-based Hamburger Law Firm LLC, also declined to say why Dickson was terminated.
“One month ago, Mr. Dickson was asked to walk away from the company which he proudly founded,” Hamburger wrote in an email. “Throughout his tenure, Mr. Dickson diligently served the company’s interests while disrupting an entire industry. He has taken seriously his obligations to serve the interests of all stakeholders and vehemently denies any allegations to the contrary. He left Sanctuary in an enviable position of strength and wishes his Sanctuary team and partner firms continued success. Like many entrepreneurs in the industry of late, he relinquished control to well-capitalized investors. There are so many constructive lessons he has learned from this experience and, while Jim is unable to engage in dialogue currently, he is looking forward to an opportunity to share them with his many supporters.”
Dickson founded Sanctuary in 2018 after the firm acquired Indianapolis-based David A. Noyes & Co., which in 2020 changed its name to Sanctuary Securities Inc. Before founding Sanctuary, Dickson had spent the previous 20 years at Merrill Lynch.
Italy-based Azimut Group acquired a 55% ownership stake in Sanctuary in 2021. In May, Sanctuary received a $175 million investment from New York-based Kennedy Lewis Investment Management, a financial firm that is partially owned by Azimut.
Sanctuary Wealth has grown aggressively since its founding, and its network now includes partner firms in 28 states with a cumulative $25 billion in assets under advisement.
Sanctuary Wealth’s subsidiaries include investment advisory firm Sanctuary Advisors LLC; broker-dealer Sanctuary Securities Inc.; Sanctuary Insurance Solutions LLC; Sanctuary Global Family Office LLC; and Sanctuary Commercial Loan Group LLC.
In 2021, regulators censured the firm and ordered it to pay more than $530,000 in fines and restitution as part of a settlement agreement over alleged rule violations at the firm. The alleged violations occurred when the firm operated as David A. Noyes & Co.