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Merrill Breakaways Team Up to Partner With Dynasty Financial Planning

Breakaway advisors may be playing a team game more often.

Two Merrill Lynch teams in Portland, Ore., have joined forces and landed on the Dynasty Financial Partners platform, and Dynasty president and chief executive Shirl Penney expects more to come.

"We're seeing more inquiries like this," Penney says. "As the opportunity presents itself, we think more teams will see the advantage of joining to achieve scale, size and get more bang for their buck. There's already more in the pipeline."

In Portland, Merrill advisor team David Christian and Jeffrey Krum have joined forces with Brian Hefele and his team to launch Cable Hill Partners. The two teams advised on more than $700 million in client assets.

Christian and Krum began talking to Hefele when it was obvious the two teams had a similar approach to working with clients, Christians says. When the three advisors decided that the independent space "represented the future," Christian recounts, "we rolled up our sleeves, looked around and talked to all the major players to find the best solution."

Krum compares the process to wanting to build a house "but having no idea how to pound in a nail - we wanted to find the best general contractor and architect to build the house."

Christian, Krum and Hefele decided to partner with Dynasty after sitting down with Penney and other Dynasty executives at the firms' new Park Avenue offices in Manhattan. "The entire team was so good at what they did that we saw that we'd be getting the best partners for each part of the house we had to build," Krum says.

Cable Hill ended up fully deploying Dynasty's "chassis" on its back and front office platforms, Penney says. The new Portland firm also chose Fidelity to be its custodian and PKS Financial Services as its broker-dealer.

Penney sees a busy year ahead and says Dynasty's pipeline is the "most full" it's been in the firm's three-plus year history.

Indeed, Nicholas Schorsch's headline-grabbing entry into the independent space following this year's purchase of Cetera Financial Group and J.P. Turner to boost RCS Capital's total advisor count to nearly 10,000 underscores the attractiveness of the market Penney says.

"Anytime a smart and talented person with significant capital comes into the space, it's a further validation of the future of the independent channel," he says. "The lifeblood of the industry is assets, and asset flows are going to the independents."