ON THE MOVE-LPL lands newly launched firm of former Merrill Lynch brokers

NEW YORK, July 18 Fri Jul 18, 2014 3:39pm EDT

NEW YORK, July 18 (Reuters) - LPL Financial, the largest U.S. independent broker-dealer by revenue, said on Thursday it added to its network the Chicago-based independent adviser group IHT Wealth Management, which was recently launched by a group of brokers from Merrill Lynch.

Firm president Steven Dudash started IHT on June 27 after resigning from Bank of America's Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, where he and his team of five advisers managed $592 million in client assets. The firm joined LPL's network the same day.

Boston-based LPL Financial, a subsidiary of parent company LPL Financial Holdings Inc, provides brokerage, clearing and other professional services to roughly 13,700 self-employed advisers and about 720 financial institutions.

IHT has six financial advisers targeting mass affluent clients with at least $250,000 of investable assets, as well as high net worth clients with $10 million in investable assets.

Though they launched with just a handful of advisers, Dudash said IHT will target financial advisers who are nearing retirement for its recruiting.

"I think we're going to be very attractive to retiring advisers and there are a lot of retiring advisers in our industry," Dudash said.

A spokeswoman for Merrill Lynch confirmed Dudash left the firm, but declined to comment further. (Reporting by Elizabeth Dilts; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)

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