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Former $1 Billion Merrill Lynch Team Launches LPL Practice

Former $1 Billion Merrill Lynch Team Launches LPL Practice. Financial services, registered independent adviser, RIA, LPL, high-net worth clients, Continuity Private Wealth, philanthropy planning, trustee services, Merrill Lynch

Financial advisers James “Jamie” P. Debuque, CPFA, CPWA, CRPC, and Timothy M. Baltz, CPFA, CRPC, have launched independent practice Continuity Private Wealth through affiliation with LPL Financial’s supported independence model, LPL Strategic Wealth Services. They reported having served approximately $1 billion in advisory, brokerage, and retirement plan assets and join LPL from Merrill Lynch.

Based in Doylestown, Pa., the advisers partnered nearly 15 years ago to build out a private wealth team focused on helping affluent clients manage sophisticated estate and tax planning, as well as investment issues. They are joined by longtime Wendy A. Fratrik, CRPC, chief operating officer; Nicole Ferrara, client relationship manager; and Lisa Baltz, wealth management associate.

“We have a long history in the community, having built our practice through both [mergers and acquisitions] and a large referral network, and our team has cultivated meaningful relationships with multiple generations,” Fratrik said, noting their client base is comprised of high-net-worth families, business owners, executives, and professionals. “It’s our goal to provide exemplary services and financial education to help each client understand complex topics without the financial jargon.”

Looking for more autonomy as they create their ideal practice, along with the ability to enhance their offering with more high-net-worth services, the team turned to LPL Strategic Wealth Services.

“We were drawn to LPL’s adviser-centric culture that gives us the flexibility to run our business as we see fit,” Debuque said. “By making this move, we now have the freedom to follow a fiduciary standard for our clients without corporate influence. We have access to more investment selections, robust financial planning software, and a group of specialists who will help us create differentiated experiences for clients.”

The team said they were drawn to LPL’s comprehensive supported independence solution, 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. In addition to having access to LPL’s innovative wealth management platform and sophisticated resources, LPL Strategic Wealth Services advisers benefit from an integrated service that includes simplified pricing, technology, and dedicated support to launch their practice. After the transition is complete, teams receive ongoing operations support managed by LPL’s team of experienced professionals including a business strategist, marketing partner, chief financial officer, and administrative assistant.

Additionally, because the Continuity team serves numerous high-net-worth clients, Debuque and team said it was equally important to partner with a firm that offers dedicated private wealth resources and customized solutions to support those clients’ needs. LPL currently serves $130 billion in high-net-worth assets under management and has developed high-net-worth-specialized resources in areas like advanced estate and philanthropy planning, income tax strategy, trustee services, a robust alternative investment platform, banking and lending solutions and complex life insurance planning.

“We extend a warm welcome to Jamie, Tim, Wendy, and their team and congratulate them on the launch of Continuity Private Wealth. We are honored to be their chosen partner as they build out the next phase of their ideal practice,” said Scott Posner, LPL executive vice president of business development.

“We’ve seen a growing trend of advisers looking for more autonomy; to be the [chief executive officer] and call the shots for their practice while still having access to sophisticated resources and an open-architecture platform. LPL’s Strategic Wealth Services allows advisers to do just that…” Posner added.

LPL Financial Holdings Inc. serves nearly 23,000 financial advisers, including advisers at approximately 1,100 enterprises and 570 RIA firms nationwide. Headquartered in San Diego, its total advisory and brokerage assets totaled more than $1.35 trillion as of Dec. 31, 2023.

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