(Adds comments from Dupuy)
By Elizabeth Dilts
NEW YORK, June 5 (Reuters) - 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)