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The Diamond Podcast for Financial Advisors: Leaving a 4-Decade Legacy Behind

Why this $1.5B Merrill Family Business Opted for Independence.


Many successful people attribute their achievements to having a great mentor.

For Brent and Brad Chappell, their father was a “childhood hero who became their business mentor.”

Robert Chappell founded his wealth management practice at Merrill in 1984, when being part of the “Thundering Herd” was like being part of a much larger family.

The brothers proudly reminisce about the influence Robert and his work at Merrill had on them, so it was no surprise when Brent and Brad joined the firm in 2002 and 2006, respectively.

The Chappells’ early experience at Merrill was one of two families blended together. Yet that kinship diminished after the firm’s sale to Bank of America, and the team’s ability to serve clients and conduct daily business became challenged.

Like many successful wirehouse teams, the Chappells credit the firm for being the foundation of their family business. But they saw the handwriting on the wall, and it said that they owed it to themselves and their clients to explore their options.

In February 2023, Brent, Brad, and their team left the firm their father retired from and launched Chappell Wealth Management as one of the largest teams on the Sanctuary Wealth supported independence platform.

In this episode with Louis Diamond, Brent and Brad talk about their journey and motivations, including:

  • Growing up with Merrill—and what changes they witnessed over the years.
  • Their unique perspective as next gens in a family business—and when it became clear that “what got them here wouldn’t get them there.”
  • The economics of a move to independence—and how they reconciled the fact that they would owe money back on their father’s CTP agreement.
  • Their exploration and transition process—and why “education” was one of the most valuable facets.
  • Plus, what it really takes to build a $1B+ business.

Listen in as they candidly share a unique narrative about a changing wirehouse world, family dynamics, succession and building a strong business designed to achieve long-term enterprise value.

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