A nine-member team led by brothers R. Scott Bills and Brett R. Bills, which managed $1.75 billion at Merrill Lynch, has left to form a new registered investment advisory firm.
“Our whole crew spent the majority of their careers at Merrill, so this was not a decision we took lightly,” Scott Bills said in an interview.
“The pandemic gave us more time to be more reflective and thoughtful about the future,” said Bills, whose new firm will be called Nilsine Partners and is based in Greenwood Village, Colorado.
The two Colorado natives had a particularly long association with Merrill. Their father spent 27 years at the company until retiring in 2012. Brett, 46, and Scott, 41, joined Merrill in 2001 and 2006, respectively, and worked on his team.
Advisers have been increasingly breaking off from banks as they look to gain greater control over their business, expand products and services they can offer, and gather a larger share of the revenue they produce.
The pandemic also accelerated the influx of people moving to Colorado, said Bills, which is “an opportunity for our business with people moving here and seeing what Colorado has to offer.”
“We don’t want to disrupt the family feel our clients have with us, but there are a lot of people who are, in our opinion, stuck and don’t know what to do,” Bills said. “We’ll look for the right fit, culturally, in M&A and in hiring advisers, both those with long runways head of them and advisers who want a succession plan.”
The team has partnered with Dynasty Financial Partners, a venture started by former Citigroup Inc. executives that helps advisers go independent and provides trading platforms, record-keeping and product offerings.
A representative for Bank of America’s Merrill division declined to comment.
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Andrew is half-human, half-gamer. He’s also a science fiction author writing for BleeBot.