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Firms have been encouraging advisors to team for many years now, touting benefits such as advisor collaboration, ensemble pricing, and shared support.  However, like a marriage, over time advisors can find themselves in situations where diverging goals and changes in events no longer fit with keeping the current status quo.  Advisors are finding the confidence to break away from their team.  They realize the need to follow a path that more aligns with the vision they see for their clients, their business, and most importantly, their future.

Roger Gershman of The Gershman Group who is recognized as the guru of recruiting  Merrill teams nationally says, “teams have been promoted by firms for years but whose long term interests does that serve?”

As an example, Gershman represented Matthew J. Bucher and his son Mathew M. to create their own business at UBS in Bloomfield Hills, MI. The father and son were partners of the $4+bn Merrill Lynch PBIG team, Locniskar, Pursel, Bucher, Biddinger Group.  This team was originally formed in 2018, when 2 existing PWM teams, the Locniskar Group and Pursel Bucher Group merged.  Thomas Pursel and Matthew J. Bucher were one of the first teams at Merrill to be named to the firm’s private banking and investment group and Dana Locniskar began his long standing career with Merrill since 1970.  Having spent his entire 40+ year career at Merrill and a recognized Forbes Best in State advisor, Matthew J. and his son now own their own family’s legacy.

What is the motivation? – Some advisors are realizing the in-house retirement plans are without consideration for the 7-9 year handcuffs put upon the receiving or next-gen advisor.  Some find the splits between the team members are no longer analogous with the revenue or work each advisor contributes to the team.  Many are looking for a different firm where they can envision their individual business to thrive. Now more than ever, clients lay trust in their advisor, not the logo on the business card, reinforcing their loyalty to follow the person, not the firm.  It’s never easy to make the decision for change, let alone to break from your team, but taking those steps on behalf of your business will thereby establish an advisor’s individual worth and control of their future.

Gershman concludes, “if teams do not move as one then expect more and more breakups at ML.”

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