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Merrill Lynch Team Managing $420M Jumps to LPL

By Alex Padalka May 10, 2017

A team of financial advisors who managed $420 million at Merrill Lynch have joined the independent broker-dealer LPL Financial.

The Choice Group Wealth Management, comprised of managing director Ira Katz as well as advisors Daniel McNicholas, John Scala and Bryce Wilinski, focuses on retirement and estate planning and cash flow analysis, and is based in Melville, N.Y., according to a press release from LPL. The practice reported managing $420 million as of April 28, according to LPL, which notes in the press release that it has not verified the numbers.

The team’s decision for moving to LPL was driven by a desire for “access to more products and greater flexibility” in light of the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule, Katz says in LPL’s press release.

Merrill Lynch had opted to stop offering commission-based retirement accounts to help its brokers comply with the rule, which purports to require retirement brokers to put clients’ interest first, although the firm said it would review cases in which the move could hurt certain clients following the rule’s delay from April to June.

Merrill Lynch has seen several major advisor moves in 2017. It lost advisors collectively managing more than $1.6 billion to Raymond James since the beginning of March.

It also lost three advisors who collectively oversaw $602 million to Morgan Stanley in February, but in March picked up six Morgan Stanley brokers collectively managing $1.3 billion.