Two Merrill Lynch advisors who managed $120 million have gone independent with Raymond James, a spokeswoman said.
Advisors Kayla Koeber and Lori Baum formed independent firm Voyager Wealth Advisors in St. George, Utah.
Koeber, who joined Merrill in 2000, explains she wasn't originally interested in going independent. "I used to always say I have no interest in changing the toner in the copy machine," she says, laughing.
But, she adds, "I was fierce about how I wanted to run my own practice."
Koeber says she still holds Merrill in high regard, but that there are limitations with the wirehouse model and she wanted more freedom in the way she structured her practice and served clients.
"If I wanted to charge a fee to simply create a financial plan for a client, we don't have a model for that in the wirehouse world. I have the ability where I would like to price at Raymond James, except for a maximum. It's those types of decisions, where I have more opportunities," she says.
Koeber and Baum have worked together since 2001. Baum was originally a client associate, but transitioned into a full-time role as a financial advisor in 2013.
Koeber, whose practice is about 40 miles west of Zion National Park, says their clients are mostly mass affluent people who have relocated to Utah. "They're young, active retirees who came here for the beauty."
They've been focused on transitioning clients, Koeber says she wants to start exploring how they can expand their services and enhance the value they bring to clients. Koeber, a CFP, says she's been an advocate of holistic financial planning since she started in the business.
"What's been interesting is that the philosophy I've had pretty much from day one, is where the industry is headed," Koeber says.
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