S. Mark Alton

CFP, ChFC, CLU, CAP, CPWA, First Vice President, Financial Advisor, Family Wealth Director , Senior Investment Management Consultant

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S. Mark Alton


We are dedicated to helping families of wealth address the unique, multifaceted challenges of affluence, so they can enhance and preserve family capital and values across generations.

My Story and Services

Family Office Services

Having had the privilege of working with families of wealth for over 25 years, I have come to understand the exceptionally complex, multigenerational financial challenges they face.  Addressing these challenges demands a multidisciplinary approach that integrates a broad array of wealth management disciplines.  As a Family Wealth Director, my team and I have the experience, specialized training, expertise and resources to develop highly customized and truly comprehensive wealth management solutions based on our clients' needs and aspirations.  These include family governance and dynamics, tax, trust and estate planning, family wealth and business succession planning, corporate transactions and executive services, pre- and post-liquidity planning, investment management consulting, income and asset protection, cash flow and debt management, philanthropic consulting and more.  

Other services provided through our network of 3rd-party providers include:

  • Aircraft and Yacht Management and Advisory
  • Art Advisory and Appraiser Services
  • Personal and Home Security
  • Private Healthcare Advisory
  • Household and Administrative Staffing
  • Real Estate and Relocation Resources
  • Property and Casualty Insurance Assessment
  • Hobbyist Specialties (Automobile, Coins and Golf)

Our Family Office Services are available to families with a minimum of $25 million in investable assets and $50 million total combined net worth.  

Your Family Wealth Director’s Biography

Your Advanced Resource Center's Team Biographies

Access to Private Banking >

Services Include

  • Wealth Management
  • Business Succession Planning
  • Estate Planning Strategies
  • Philanthropic Services
  • Trust Services*

Securities Agent: AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, FL, GA, IL, IN, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, NC, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, VT, WA; General Securities Representative; Investment Advisor Representative; Managed Futures

NMLS#: 1274605

Check the background of our Firm and Investment Professionals on FINRA's BrokerCheck.

Strategic Exit Planning

Exiting your business is a highly complex, often emotionally draining, process involving countless details.  We are here to assist you in preparing both you and your company for the transition, and to provide ongoing support following the transition.  We can work with you and your key executives and advisors to help prepare your company for sale, avoid potential pitfalls, analyze your options and connect you with a Morgan Stanley investment banker or external affiliate.  Throughout this process, we will ensure that the resources and intellectual capital of Morgan Stanley are made available to address your needs, personalizing your access with the highest level of service and attention. 

As your Family Wealth Director, we are available to work with you and your other advisors to identify and structure an exit strategy consistent with your business and personal financial goals:

  • Intra-family sales and transfers
  • Sales to Financial or Strategic Acquirers
  • Corporate Recapitalizations
  • Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Sales to Private Equity or Venture Capital Groups
  • Sales to Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOP)
  • Initial Public Offerings (IPO)
  • Stock Option and Executive Compensation
  • Concentrated Stock Positions

Additional Resources:

Morgan Stanley's Exit Planning Capabilities
The Business Owner Checklist
The Business Owner
The Corporate Executive
Comprehensive Wealth Management for Corporate Executives

Family Governance and Dynamics

For many ultra-high-net-worth families, the most difficult wealth planning challenges they face relate not to their financial capital, but to their human capital.  For these clients, the most daunting issues are those that concern the impact that wealth has on their families..  They may worry that their wealth will diminish, not enhance, the quality of their descendants' lives by stifling ambition, initiative and accomplishment. 

These families may fear that:

Their family will become overly dependent on inherited wealth.
Their family business will be damaged by family conflict.
The wealth management structures they created will be dismantled by beneficiaries.
Their philanthropic vision or other legacy will not be fulfilled.
Family members will fight over wealth, power or control.
Their wealth will lead descendants to engage in self-destructive behaviors.

Our Family Governance & Wealth Education Group helps ultra high net worth families work to preserve their shared values and create an enduring family legacy, making it more likely that descendants will lead meaningful, fulfilled and engaged lives.  
These engagements include:

  • Creating family governance structures and documents: family mission statement, family constitution and bylaws, family council, etc.
  • Facilitating effective communication: family meetings and retreats and addressing communication challenges
  • Consulting on family dynamics and legacy planning:  intergenerational wealth transfer, family conflict, integrating shared values into estate planning and wealth management vehicles
  • Creating wealth preservation strategies:  protecting the integrity of family wealth management structures, addressing the challenges of the deeply troubled family, family wealth and business succession plans

Additional Resources:

How to Create a Family Wealth Mission Statement
Wealth Education - Empowerment and Meaning for UHNW Families
Intergenerational Financing and the Securities Based Loan
Philanthropic Toolkit
The Power of Scholarship Programs
Scaling for Impact

Tax, Trust and Estate Planning for the Sale of your Business

Selling a business is complicated.  On the one hand, the owner is trying to realize the greatest potential for the business monetarily as well as strategically both of which will impact the owner and the employees.  Not only does the business owner have to learn and evaluate his/her strategic business alternatives but also is tasked with learning and planning for his/her current and /or potential beneficiaries simultaneously.  Oftentimes, the immediacy of the strategic deal overwhelms and usurps any thought of personal planning.  It is for this latter reason that the sooner a business owner begins learning about financial as well as tax, trust and estate planning strategies the better as it should afford confidence and flexibility.

The coordination and management of the owner's corporate and personal advisors and consultants is critical.  To determine the true integrated value of a company to the owner, all of the professionals consulting with the owner must understand how their advice and decisions may impact others' advice and decisions.  The owner should have two "teams" of consultants, one for the company and one for him/herself.  The company should have an investment banker consulting on the transaction working in concert with corporate counsel and accountant.  The owner should have a financial advisor consulting on the planning in light of the transaction in concert with individual trust, tax and estate counsel and accountant.  The cooperation between the investment banker and the financial advisor coordinating and managing the respective teams of professional advisors is paramount for the owner to achieve the most advantageous outcome. 

In short, the investment banker working with the team of corporate consultants may influence the degree to which money goes to the acquiring and receiving companies as well as to the government via taxes.  The financial advisor working with the team of personal consultants may influence the degree to which money goes to the owner's family, charity and the government via taxes. 

Additional Resources:

Tax, Trust And Estate Planning Considerations When Selling a Business
Income and Estate Tax Planning Toolkit
Intentionally Defective Grantor Trust
Life Insurance Toolkit
Dynasty Trusts
Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts
Qualified Personal Residence Trust
Another Way to Facilitate a Gifting Strategy
What Responsibilities do I have as an Executor?
What Responsibilities does a Trustee Have?
Cahritable Remainder Trust
Charitable Lead Trust
Planning for Children with Special Needs

What Responsibilities do I have as an Executor?
What Responsibilities does a Trustee Have?
Planning for Children with Special Needs

Installment Sales
Basic Credit Shelter and Marital Deduction Planning

Incentive Trusts
Fiduciary Guidelines for Foundations and Endowments
FLPs and LLCs
Sales to an Employee Stock Ownership Plan
Pre-Liquidity Event Planning Overview
10b5-1 Preset Diversification Program (PDP)

Alternative Investments

As the world's largest wealth management organization, Morgan Stanley's global network affords us the ability to offer suitable clients a vast alternative investment platform.  We leverage our unique position and our affiliates to source innovative strategies from among the best investment minds in the business.  We then employ rigorous due diligence to identify, evaluate and select each alternative investment product on our platform to assure that we only introduce our clients to what we believe are the best managers in the industry. 

Our alternative investments platform includes a variety of investment options, each supported by a group of professionals who bring with them a combination of expertise and industry knowledge;

Hedge Funds:  Relative Value Strategies, Event-Driven Strategies, Market Directional Strategies, Funds of Hedge Funds, Multi-Strategy Funds

Private Equity:  Venture Capital, Leveraged Buyouts, Mezzanine Financing, Private Equity Secondary Market

Private Real Estate:  Real Estate Investment Trusts and Operating Companies, Debt or Equity, Commercial or Residential, High-Yield Mezzanine Debt or Senior Loans

Miscellaneous:  Managed Futures, Public and Private Exchange Funds, Trend Following Strategies, Portable Alpha Strategies, Risk Parity Strategies

Additional Resources:

Opportunities in Private Equity
Opportunities in Private Real Estate
HedgeFunds an Important Alternative for Your Asset Allocation
Exchange Funds an Important Alternative for Your Asset Allocation
Managed Futures an Important Alternative for Your Asset Allocation
Art as an Asset
The Art of Donating Art



  • 250 So. Clinton St, Ste 500
  • Syracuse, NY 13202

    Business Planning

    Partnering with you on key aspects of your business such as ownership, liquidity and developing opportunities.

    • Succession Planning
    • Business Planning
    • Retirement Plan Sponsors
    • Corporate Pension Funds


    Working closely with you to guide your wealth and investments through the most challenging market cycles.

    • Asset management
    • Traditional investments
    • Alternative Investments
    • Impact Investing


    Making sure your philanthropic dollars are managed with the same best-in-class service as the rest of your wealth.

    • Endowments
    • Foundations
    • Donor Advised Funds
    • Impact Investing


    Creating customized financial strategies for the challenges that today's families face.

    • Estate Planning
    • 529 Plans / Education Planning
    • Long Term Care Insurance
    • Trust Services and Accounting

    Ready to start a conversation? Contact S. Mark Alton today.

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