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Inside Coastal Bridge Advisors Break Away from Merrill Lynch

An “outside-in” look at how a capital partner helped this RIA make the leap to independence—and achieve amazing results.


Bill Loftus, Founding Partner of Coastal Bridge Advisors, and Mark Dupont, Senior VP of Independence and Operations at Focus Financial Partners, join Mindy for an intensive look at Coastal Bridge Advisors, one of the original marquis teams to break away with Focus Financial Partners in 2008.

Bill shares why he and his partners left their wirehouse and $600 million in institutional assets behind at “an interesting time,” that is, in the midst of the financial crisis and when a leap to independence was far less common.

The firm is now managing $2.4 billion—a far cry from the $400 million assets under management they started with—and is well on its way to becoming a national firm. It’s a level of success they achieved through organic growth, smart planning and what Bill describes as the “exceptional talent and culture” at the firm.

Mindy, Bill and Mark take an in-depth look at this extraordinary growth, the role Focus played in their evolution, and much more, including:

  • What prompted Bill and his team to leave their wirehouse in the midst of the 2008 financial crisis.
  • Why they chose to work with Focus.
  • The key factors that ultimately made the move successful.
  • How Coastal Bridge’s ultra-high-net-worth clients reacted to the move.
  • How Coastal Bridge was able to accelerate growth in a way not possible at a traditional brokerage firm.
  • Coastal Bridge’s plans for future inorganic growth, and the role Focus will play in such growth.
  • Predictions for the future of the RIA industry.

Bill’s message to advisors who are still wary that their UHNW clients need the security of a brand name firm: “The proof is in the pudding.” And he should know.

So, listen in to this exceptionally informative and candid episode, which captures Mark’s intense knowledge of the space and Bill’s enthusiasm and experience—a rare combination that every advisor looking at independence will benefit from.

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