Skip navigation

Mindy Diamond On Independence: How a $440M Merrill Team Got Their Mojo Back in Independence

Self-described “homegrown Merrill” advisors Chad Goodchild and Jacob Schlicht share the drivers behind their choice to leave Merrill to launch independent firm Kickstand Wealth Advisors.


Building an independent firm from scratch isn’t an easy task. It requires massive time and effort coupled with vision and the resources to identify and assemble all the moving parts—not to mention the ongoing operational and back-office management that follows.

So while advisors may crave the freedom and control that comes with being independent business owners, many have no desire to get mired in the details.

The good news is that the expanded industry landscape offers a new world of options for folks like these. That is, the support to handle the heavy lift of setting up an independent firm while still reaping the rewards of freedom and control.

For the guests on this episode, self-described “homegrown Merrill” advisors Chad Goodchild and Jacob Schlicht, there were plenty of things they liked about the firm.

First off, both started at Merrill as interns, learning the business from the ground up. Then Chad got to a point where he needed to add an advisor to his team and Jake answered the call. Together, this young team, Chad with 20 years at the firm and Jake with 16, built a business managing over $440mm in assets.

Yet over time, while they appreciated so much about the firm – especially the support and all-under-one-roof access – they really wanted to be business owners with more freedom to choose how they served clients. And they wanted to restore the “happiness” they once felt in their roles as financial advisors.

So they started to explore independent options, with a focus on supported independence.

In July 2021, they launched Kickstand Wealth Advisors, based in upstate NY, with support from TruClarity Wealth Advisors RIA platform and Schwab as their custodian.

In this episode, Chad and Jake candidly share their due diligence journey with Mindy Diamond, including:

  • Their time at Merrill—and why they started to explore their options.
  • The things they liked most about Merrill—and what changed their point of view.
  • The choice to forego a transition bonus—and why independence was the better option for them, their clients, and their business.
  • The choice to build their firm with support from TruClarity—and how that impacted their transition process.
  • What they can do differently in independence—and what they describe as “the glaring differences.”
  • Their role as business owners one year later—and how their lives have changed as a result.

It’s an interesting story about regaining the “happiness” of your business life—a happiness that the advisor not only enjoys, but clients are also the beneficiaries of.

> Download a transcript of this episode…

Listen to more episodes of Mindy Diamond on Independence: A Podcast for Financial Advisors Considering Change.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.