Skip navigation

Mindy Diamond on Independence: How an Ex-Merrill Advisor Found Autonomy, Abundance in Independence

Jerry Davidse discusses his transition from Merrill to building RIA firm Presilium Private Wealth with partner Brook Hart.


Many employee advisors often feel limited in what they can do for clients—particularly when it comes to having the freedom to market and share their unique voice. Or even to communicate without ensuring the message was approved by a higher authority.

Take Jerry Davidse, for example. He started in wealth management at Morgan Stanley, leaving shortly after the Smith Barney merger to join Merrill in 2011.

Over the years at Merrill, Jerry met his business partner Brook Hart, and together they built the business from $70 million under management to over $300 million with a client base composed primarily of executives and founders of biotech and pharma companies.

As a young team, they were starting to feel like they had outgrown Merrill—and were limited in providing what they felt could be an “exceptional experience” for their clients.

Plus, the firm placed restrictions on how they communicated with clients, requiring that all content be reviewed by compliance—a process that took time, making the messages obsolete or watered down and ineffective.

In conducting due diligence, Jerry and Brook realized that they could remove the limitations and offer their clients the best of everything—including timely and creative communications—by building their own independent firm.

So in April of 2022, they launched Presilium Private Wealth with support from Dynasty Financial Partners and Fidelity Investments as custodian.

In this episode, Jerry shares his journey with Louis Diamond, discussing:

  • The things they liked most about Merrill—and why they felt they were “outgrowing” the firm.
  • The choice to go independent—and why they chose Dynasty and Fidelity over other models and options.
  • Their incredible portability ratio—and how they had 90% of their client assets committed in the first six weeks and 100% as of this recording.
  • The influx of referrals they received since their transition—and how the feeling of truly building something “for the clients” trickled down in a positive way.
  • Plus, Jerry offers advice about conducting due diligence—and how his “optimistic” mindset contributed to a successful transition.

Jerry and Brook’s desire for “creativity, autonomy, and vision” demonstrates how transitioning from a world based on limitations to one of abundance can be a real game-changer. Yet it’s Jerry’s advice on building a business for the clients that’s the real takeaway from this episode.

Download a transcript of this episode…

Listen to the podcast

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.