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FA Team Departs Merrill to Start Their Own Firm

The former Merrill Lynch advisors have partnered with Dynasty to launch Avantra Family Wealth.

A team of former Merrill Lynch advisors with $250 million in client assets recently launched Avantra Family Wealth, an independent RIA in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, and partnered with Dynasty Financial Partners.

The firm is led by Frank Collins Jr. and Kim Lee Kenawell-Hoffecker. Collins most recently served as a market executive at Merrill Lynch from 1978 to 2015, while Kenawell-Hoffecker most recently served as a resident director and wealth management advisor at Merrill. 

“The wealth management landscape is changing rapidly,” said Collins in a statement. “By setting out on our own, we have a chance to do more for our clients with multiple providers—not just one institution—and use some of the skills we were not able to use as advisors in the larger institutional world.”

The group hopes to serve a diverse group of clients across the wealth spectrum.

“As a result, the firm can help the retiree, the client nearing retirement, as well as the younger generation and new family client alike who are just beginning to think about how and why to plan and invest, and don’t have the time, expertise or inclination to do it on their own,” the firm said.

Avantra will be joining the Dynasty Network of Advisory firms.

“Dynasty has distilled this complicated and crowded landscape down to the 15 to 20 or so essential pieces that comprise this puzzle, including furniture, phones, technology, banking services, custodial services, investment management services, financial planning services, and then consolidated the technology we selected onto the Dynasty desktop,” said Collins.

Avantra has also selected Schwab Advisor Services to provide custody services; Black Diamond will provide reporting services.

Six other former Merrill employees will join the firm, including Wade A. Hoffman, partner, chief compliance officer; Steven B. Thompson, partner, family wealth advisor; Sean T. Hoffecker, partner, family wealth advisor; Jana M. Thompson, client experience manager; Beth J. Blanchfield, client experience associate; and Tania J. Brungard, client experience associate.

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