Advisers on the Move

Fired Merrill Lynch star broker Bruce Lee starts own RIA

The 32-year industry veteran, whose team at Merrill had $2.9 billion in assets, launches Keebeck Wealth Management in Chicago

Jul 11, 2018 @ 4:45 pm

By Bruce Kelly

A former star Merrill Lynch adviser in Chicago who was fired in April has opened his own RIA.

The adviser, Bruce K. Lee, opened Keebeck Wealth Management and has been registered there since Monday, according to his BrokerCheck report.

A perennial member of the closely watched Barron's lists for top financial advisers across the United States, Mr. Lee was fired from Merrill on April 18. According to BrokerCheck, Merrill terminated him for "conduct including failure to personally complete mandatory firm compliance training, resulting in management's loss of confidence."

A 32-year veteran of the securities industry, Mr. Lee had worked at Merrill Lynch since October 2011.

Just this year, Barron's ranked Mr. Lee No. 79 on a list of "Top 100 Financial Advisors" in the country. According to the list, Mr. Lee and his team had $2.9 billion in client assets, and Mr. Lee's typical client had a net worth of $100 million.

Mr. Lee, who did not return a call for comment Wednesday afternoon, was part of Merrill's elite Private Banking and Investment Group, known as PBIG.

Joining Mr. Lee from Merrill Lynch is Joseph Polakoff, who had been a director and sales manager at PBIG in Chicago.

The new firm's moniker is based on Mr. Lee's given name in Korean, Keebeck, which means "to ascend" in that language, according to a press release announcing the launch.

The new firm is working with the platform of the Dynasty Financial Network and using Pershing Advisor Solutions to custody client assets.

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