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Fired Merrill Lynch FA Starts Indie Practice

By Alex Padalka July 12, 2018

A former Merrill Lynch private wealth manager who was fired in April has launched his own independent practice, partnering with Dynasty Financial Partners.

Bruce Lee, founder and CEO of Keebeck Wealth Management, had been a managing director at Merrill Lynch’s Chicago office from 2011 until earlier this year, according to Dynasty. Merrill Lynch fired Lee in April following “temper issues” and allegations he had an assistant do work on his behalf in a training module, AdvisorHub reported at the time.

Also joining Keebeck are wealth advisor Joseph Polakoff, chief investment officer and managing director Mathew Klody, director of operation and managing director Stephanie Roberts, vice president of client solutions Alexa Hyman and analyst Matthew Carey, according to the press release from Dynasty. Keebeck will custody with Pershing Advisor Solutions, Dynasty says.

“Bruce and his team have deep ties to the Chicago market and he has developed significant long-term relationships with his clients,” John Sullivan, director of network development at Dynasty, says in the press release. “We believe Bruce’s business model will thrive in the independent space.”

Shirl Penney, Dynasty’s president and CEO, said this spring that his firm stands to win from wirehouses leaving the Protocol for Broker Recruiting, as reported.


Merrill Lynch, however, has not withdrawn from the industry accord that allows departing advisors to take some client data with them without threat of lawsuits. Its rivals UBS and Morgan Stanley pulled out of the agreement at the end of 2017. But Merrill Lynch has lost some representatives to rivals in recent months regardless. Most recently, the wirehouse lost a prominent advisor to LPL Financial.

Editor's note: This article was edited 7/16/19 at 07:30 ET to reflect the nature of the advisor's departure from Merrill Lynch, as previously reported.