Three breakaway Morgan Stanley Smith Barney advisers — Greg Erwin, King Martin and Alan Rexius — have opened Sapient Private Wealth Management, a fee-based registered investment adviser.

At Morgan Stanley, the team managed more than $500 million for about 450 high-net-worth clients in the Pacific Northwest. Sapient is based in Eugene, Ore. Its opening day was Oct. 14.

Erwin said the team made the decision to go independent at the beginning of the year; it took them more than nine months, but they expect to bring with them 90% or more of the assets they managed at Morgan Stanley.

The biggest reason for the move, Erwin said, was that the team wanted "control over our own destiny."

The advisers also wanted to be able to more clearly differentiate themselves from the "huge firm" they represented.

"All the mergers over the years took us away from our focus on our high-net-worth clients," Erwin said. "That's why we sought independence."

Sapient is to use Fidelity as its primary custodian.

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