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Ex-Merrill Lynch Adviser Joins Existing LPL Strategic Wealth Services Team

Financial adviser Chris Kitaeff, CPFA, MBA, has joined LPL Financial’s broker-dealer, registered adviser network, and custodial platforms. With the move to LPL, Kitaeff joins Maher Wealth Management as a managing director. He reported serving approximately $385 million in advisory, brokerage, and retirement plan assets and joins LPL from Merrill Lynch.

Advisers from Texas and Florida also left Merrill Lynch to join LPL over the past two months.

Kitaeff is a second-generation adviser who fell in love with wealth management at a young age and followed his father’s footsteps into the industry. He started his career on Wall Street as a hedge fund analyst before joining his father’s practice in 2009.

“It’s been amazing getting to spend the last 15 years sharing a wall with my father who is now retiring after a storied career in wealth management,” Kitaeff said. “As someone who loves to love, I really enjoy making personal connections and developing friendships with my clients.”

Kitaeff has received the Forbes Best-in-State Advisor Award for four consecutive years, from 2021 to 2024. Looking to continue that success and provide his clients with more financial freedom on an independent platform, Kitaeff took steps to form a new partnership with his former colleague Thom Maher, who in February 2023 joined LPL and founded Maher Wealth Management.

“I appreciate Thom’s high moral standards and mission to deliver premium client experiences by attentively listening and understanding what matters most to each client,” Kitaeff said. “I also believe clients are better served with an open architecture approach to wealth planning.”

“Being independent opens a universe of investment solutions and allows me as a fiduciary to provide clients with the absolute best customized strategies to meet their needs. LPL is a phenomenal company with a great track record of working with the adviser to help give clients the ultimate experience,” added Kitaeff.

Kitaeff says that client experience will be heightened by the work behind the scenes from the dedicated team at LPL Strategic Wealth Services, which combines the freedom and flexibility of entrepreneurship with hands-on business services and support to help practices thrive, both operationally and strategically. Maher Wealth Management is an existing LPL Strategic Wealth Services team that receives ongoing operations support managed by experienced professionals including a business strategist, marketing partner, chief financial officer, and administrative assistant.

“I’m delighted to join forces with Chris as we embark on this exciting new chapter at Maher Wealth Management,” Maher said. “I’ve known Chris for over a decade and know that his heart is in financial services, along with a deep desire to always put clients’ best interests first. Our commitment to delivering premium client experiences remains unwavering, and we are confident this new partnership will allow us to take our service to new heights.”

“We welcome Chris to the LPL community and congratulate Maher Wealth Management on growing its team. We applaud their decision to join forces in an ongoing effort to evolve their business and provide differentiated experiences for their clients,” said Scott Posner, executive vice president of business development.

LPL Financial Holdings Inc. serves nearly 23,000 financial advisers, including advisers at approximately 1,100 enterprises and 570 registered investment adviser firms nationwide. Headquartered in San Diego, its total advisory and brokerage assets totaled more than $1.44 trillion as of March 31, 2024.

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