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Fired Merrill Lynch advisor with $2.4B moves to Dynasty

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A former Merrill Lynch advisor, who was terminated for not properly filing compliance forms, has opened an RIA with Dynasty Financial.

Bruce Keebeck Lee opened Keebeck Wealth Management and will be joined by Partner Joseph Polakoff, Chief Investment Officer Mathew Klody, Director of Operations Stephanie Roberts, Vice President of Client Solutions Alexa Hyman and Matthew Carey, an analyst. The team is headquartered in Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago.

Lee has been named to Barron's Top 100 Financial Advisors list intermittently since 2007. This year he ranked 79 in the rankings and managed $2.9 billion in client assets with an average client net worth of $100 million. He has also been recognized among Financial Times' Top 400 Financial Advisors since as early as 2014, according to a company release.

When asked about his current AUM, Lee estimated the figure as $2.4 billion.

“An RIA is the natural evolution of a seasoned private banker to offer broader services, greater objectivity, fiduciary standards and about 10 other reasons as to why — for an advisor who’s been in the business 30 years — this is the next iteration,” Lee says.

RIA service platforms are almost essential when breaking away from the wires, Lee says, in order to make a smooth transition to an RIA. “I would be completely naïve, on my own behalf, to think that I had all the answers. It takes the water out of play, as I say in golf. You get a clean look at the green.”

Lee was discharged from Merrill in April for “failure to personally complete mandatory firm compliance training, resulting in a loss of management’s confidence,” per FINRA BrokerCheck records.

“They had their reasons and I’m assuming those reasons were for the benefit of the institution,” Lee says, adding that he still counts many of his former colleagues as friends and is planning to resolve the issue with Merrill Lynch.

Keebeck Wealth Management works with high-net-worth and ultrahigh-net-worth individuals, as well as institutional clients, Lee says. The vast majority of assets are on the private wealth side, he says.

There are 45 firms in the Dynasty Network with more than $28 billion in assets on the platform, according to a company spokeswoman. A separate Merrill Lynch team that oversaw $600 million in client assets left the wirehouse last year to join a Dynasty-affiliated RIA. The aggregator also picked up Procyon Partners from a growing roster of ex-UBS advisors, which managed $400 million in private wealth assets and $8 billion in institutional assets.

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Merrill Lynch declined to comment on Lee’s move.

“Life gives you opportunities sometimes,” Lee says. “Things are given to you as a gift that you didn’t even realize you had until it was given to you.”

Lee worked with a handful of wirehouses before landing at Merrill in 2011, including Morgan Stanley in 2000 and UBS in 1998, per BrokerCheck. He began his career with Bear Stearns in 1989, per BrokerCheck.

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