A Merrill Lynch team that oversaw $300 million in client assets has left the wirehouse to join HighTower's independent platform, the firm says.
LaRue Gibson, who served as a senior financial adviser at Merrill Lynch, is leading the new HighTower team as managing director. The team is operating as LRG Wealth Advisors in New York, and will specialize in serving individuals, closely held businesses and nonprofit organizations, according to the firm.
Other team members include managers Kevin Jackson and Naintara Ramoo-Goodgame, analysts LeAnn Yee and Kemnjika Ohayia, and support staff Amanda Green. Yee is a new addition to Gibson’s team.
Desiring greater flexibility and freedom over investment choices, Gibson joined HighTower last month after 28 years at the wirehouse. "I like the idea of being able to choose the best solution for clients no matter who offers it, no matter what platform it sits on," he says, "To me that makes a lot of sense because I’ve always wanted to be a partner to my clients and avoid any conflicts of interest."
Gibson says HighTower has been on his radar for many years. In the end, he chose the firm for its multi-custodial approach to securing client assets, open source platform and flexibility.
"I think that you’ll find it’s rare to have an organization that understands how to put together a set of platforms and solutions that really enables an adviser to do their best. HighTower has that."
Gibson started his career at Merrill in 1988, according to FINRA BrokerCheck records. He began at the wirehouse in a sales role and was later promoted to senior vice president of investments, HighTower said.
Jackson has worked in the industry for four years and Ramoo-Goodgame less than a year, both at Merrill Lynch, BrokerCheck records show. He served as an investment associate and she a financial adviser, according to their biographies on LRG's website.
"Our model supports advisers coming from a variety of environments and stages in their business life cycles," Michael Parker, chief development officer at HighTower, said in a statement.
A Merrill Lynch spokeswoman declined to comment on the team's departure.