Skip navigation

Mindy Diamond on Independence: Merrill Lifer Josh Brown on Breaking New Ground With LPL Strategic Wealth Services

Josh Brown transitioned from mechanical engineer to the Merrill Lynch training program, building a business from zero to $650 million over nearly two decades. Firm changes prompted him and his team to consider their options, launching NorthEnd Private Wealth on LPL Strategic Wealth Services channel.


Just over two decades ago, Josh Brown had transitioned from working as a mechanical engineer at a textile mill to the Merrill Lynch training program.

It was a bit of a leap, but one that paid off—ultimately building a business from zero to $650 million at the firm.

Yet it was Merrill’s entrepreneurial spirit, “the thundering herd mentality,” that Josh felt drove him and his friend and partner Scott Thompson’s success.

That is until Bank of America came along and, over time, things changed. So much so that a team member with nearly four decades at the firm came to Josh and said, “You’ve got to get us out of here.”

Their due diligence led them to consider independence, but the idea of extra scaffolding and support was also very appealing.

And in a landscape that provides more optionality than ever before, LPL’s Strategic Wealth Services became the standout. So, in April 2021, Josh and his team left Merrill to launch NorthEnd Private Wealth on LPL’s nascent independent channel.

JoshBrown-headshot.jpegIn part one of a two-part series hosted by Louis Diamond that dives into supported independence and specifically LPL Strategic Wealth Services, Josh talks about his journey, including:

  • The real motivations behind their move from Merrill—and how LPL Strategic Wealth Services won out over other models and options;
  • The value they found in the supported independence model—and how LPL helps Josh and his partners be better business owners; and
  • The transition process—and what advice he gleaned from the process that can help other advisors who are preparing for a move.

For Josh, the goal was to ultimately control their own destiny by “focusing on the day-to-day of financial planning, while stripping out the noise that was coming from the bank.” And their choice to build NorthEnd Private Wealth allowed them to accomplish that and more.

In our next episode, Kimberly Sanders, SVP of Advisor Solutions at LPL Strategic Wealth Services, joins the show to dig into what makes their new model unique in the growing supported independence space and talks about changes in the industry landscape overall. So be sure to listen in.

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.