Focus Financial Partners named former Merrill Lynch executive Dan Sontag to its board of directors, according to a Focus spokesperson.
The move marks the second Merrill executive to add their name to Focus' roster in recent weeks, following the addition of Chris Dupuy to oversee the firm's Focus Connections program, which helps transition breakaway wirehouse advisors to the independent space.
"What we're trying to do is create awareness in the major firms for the top advisors that there is a path to independence that they may not have considered. Adding someone of Dan's caliber to the board is another way to do that," says Dupuy.
Sontag was previously president of Merrill's global wealth management unit before retiring in 2009. He was a three-decade veteran of the industry, and began his career in 1978 as a Merrill advisor in Colorado Springs, Colo. With his addition, Focus's board now has seven members.
"As I learned the Focus story, I was very impressed with their business. I have looked at other opportunities as I've been retired the last 5 years, and I just felt this was a good match," says Sontag, who is 58 years-old.
Both Dupuy and Sontag spent their entire careers at Merrill before moving to Focus. The two executives have known each other since the 1990s, and worked closely before Sontag's retirement, says Dupuy.
"[Sontag] is someone I've always relied on for counsel as part of the business. It'll be great to see him regularly as part of the team," says Dupuy.
Dupuy previously oversaw about 1,400 Merrill advisors as head of the firm's Pacific Northwest market. He was with Merrill for 29 years. In a June interview with On Wall Street, Dupuy emphasized his connections within the industry as one of the strongest assets he brings to Focus.
"It's a relationship business, and I bring a long list of relationships with me. And not just with Merrill Lynch, but with many firms across the industry," said Dupuy.
He had been with Merrill since he was 19-years-old.
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