(Adds comments from Dupuy)
By Elizabeth Dilts
NEW YORK, June 5 Focus Financial Partners LLC
hired former Merrill Lynch executive Chris Dupuy to head a group
tasked with luring financial adviser teams away from big
brokerages, like his former employer, to go independent.
Chris Dupuy is the co-president, along with Richard Gill, of
Focus Connections in New York, a division that helps brokers set
up independent practices as registered investment advisers
(RIA). He will be based in San Francisco.
Since Focus Connections started in 2008, it has helped 10
teams of brokers set up independent practices that collectively
managed more than $10 billion in assets.
Dupuy retired from Merrill in February after nearly 30
years, where he most recently held the position of market
executive for the Pacific Northwest managing 1,400 advisers.
Dupuy told Reuters he was "anxious" to introduce advisers at
traditional firms to the benefits of working with a firm like
Focus, where brokers can sell a wider array of products.
Merrill Lynch previously confirmed Dupuy's departure but
could not be reached for comment on his new role.
New York-based Focus Financial Partners was founded in 2006,
and has grown by acquiring independent registered investment
advisers and teams across the United States, including from big
brokerages such as Merrill Lynch, UBS Wealth Management
and Morgan Stanley. Focus finances their
start-up costs and gives them equity in the firm with the hope
that it may someday go public.
Focus Chief Executive Officer Rudy Adolf declined to comment
on whether the group had targets at Merrill, but said, "We feel
very good about the coming opportunities."
Since Merrill's sale to Bank of America Corp five
years ago, its broker count has declined by more than 2,000 to
fewer than 14,000.
(Editing by Linda Stern, Cynthia Osterman and Lisa Shumaker)