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Merrill Lynch Team Breaks Away to Launch RIA Steadmont Advisors

The Birmingham, Ala.-based team of four managed $420 million at the wirehouse before going independent with Dynasty Financial Partners.

A team of four advisors in Birmingham, Ala., has left Merrill Lynch to create an independent RIA in partnership with Dynasty Financial Partners.

President Taylor Hart, Mimi Dunn and Amy Drinkard, all partners and advisors at the newly minted Steadmont Advisors, each spent more than a decade at Merrill, where they recently managed $420 million in assets. They were joined in the move by Senior Client Associate Tyler Decker.

“Now more than ever, being able to be flexible and nimble in services provided and fee structures is imperative,” Hart said in a statement Tuesday. “We believe that with our newly added technological capabilities, we will be able to manage our client relationships, assets, and financial plans better and more efficiently.”

With Fidelity as custodian, Steadmont offers financial planning, portfolio management and retirement plan consulting, with a focus on serving households and professionals with understated or emerging wealth, as well as multi-generational families. The firm has chosen to use Black Diamond for performance reporting and eMoney for financial planning.  

“We're simplifying operations and cutting through red tape,” said Drinkard. “This means better communication and service for our clients. Plus, we're expanding our webcast and newsletter offerings to keep our clients informed and more connected.”

“Dynasty provided us with something unique and that was the ability to start our own RIA and own our ADV and still have an operational partner during the pre-transition, transition, and on-going phases,” said Dunn.

On track to reach $100 billion in platform assets this year, Dynasty has helped launch dozens of independent firms leaving the wirehouse channel and currently has more than 50 such partners.

After filing for an IPO last year, Dynasty abandoned its plans amid a bad market for public offerings and raised fresh capital from Charles Schwab and private equity firm Abry Partners. According to CEO Shirl Penney, the company still expects to go public at some point.

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