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Merrill Breakaway Explains Managing Growth Without Affecting the Client

March 5, 2019

A former Merrill Lynch broker says it’s essential for a growing wealth management practice to ensure their clients aren’t affected by expansion, according to ThinkAdvisor.

Leo Kelly had first formed the Kelly Group at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management in 1999, after working at the wirehouse for three years, according to the publication. He jumped ship in 2012 for HighTower Advisors, looking for a better cultural fit, but also in part because he felt that his team wasn’t quite ready to run a business on its own, he tells ThinkAdvisor.

But that changed in 2017, when Kelly left HighTower, where he was a managing director and a partner, to launch Verdence Capital Advisors, a wealth advisory firm and multifamily office based in Maryland, according to the publication.

Kelly’s wealth practice has grown significantly over the past seven years: his team had six people overseeing $600 million when it left Merrill Lynch for HighTower, ThinkAdvisor writes. When it left HighTower, the team had 18 members, according to the publication. Now, Kelly’s practice has 28 people overseeing $2 billion, ThinkAdvisor writes.

Managing that growth —and making sure it’s not affecting clients — has been paramount to his team's success, Kelly tells the publication.

“In our business whenever a client feels the pressure of your growth, that’s bad,” he tells ThinkAdvisor. “You can never get to that point.”

By Alex Padalka
  • To read the ThinkAdvisor article cited in this story, click here.