April 2 Dynasty Financial Partners, a wealth management start-up that has grown by attracting top advisers from the largest U.S. brokerages, has expanded in Missouri with a veteran team from Bank of America Corp's Merrill Lynch.
The adviser group, led by industry veteran James Maher, managed $420 million in client assets at Merrill, where it had been known as the Maher Group. The group left Merrill to form Archford Capital Strategies, a private wealth management firm based in St. Louis.
"We just felt this is a direction the industry is moving," Maher said in an interview, referring to the growing trend of advisers seeking independence.
"From a fiduciary standard, we wanted to get into a position that was easier for us to find solutions for our clients, and the independent model seemed much more attractive in being able to work across major banks and major wirehouses to find solutions for our clients," he said.
Dynasty, founded by former Citigroup Inc executive Shirl Penney in December 2010, offers technological and administrative support for advisers who want to go independent but lack the backing of a big firm. The firm has expanded by partnering with veteran adviser teams like the Maher group.
Dynasty targets the top 3 percent of advisers, focusing on those with $300 million or more in assets under management.
Penney said he has seen a lot of interest from both existing independent advisory teams, as well as advisers looking for independence from the larger U.S. brokerage firms.
"A lot of RIAs (registered investment advisers) are out there on an island, and our network is a community," Penney said in an interview. He said the firm has a "very healthy pipeline" of advisers and teams expected to join in 2013.
Maher, a senior vice president of wealth management at Merrill, had been with the firm for more than a decade. Also joining Dynasty and Archford are advisers John Russo, Jerry West and Robert Schlueter, all from Merrill.
Bank of America confirmed the departures, but declined to comment further.