Two Merrill Lynch vets have teamed up to launch their own investment advisory firm.
Sean Campbell and Tim Deegan, who met while working as advisors in the global wealth management firm’s downtown office in Riverfront Plaza, launched Campbell Deegan Financial in February with help from Focus Financial Partners, a New York-based investment group.
The registered investment advisory firm will be based at 8730 Stony Point Parkway, following a move later this month from its office in the Boulders Office Park.
Campbell, who served as a senior vice president and senior financial advisor at Merrill Lynch, said the move will allow them more freedom to make decisions to better serve clients. He said he and Deegan, a senior portfolio advisor at Merrill Lynch, managed about $600 million in assets for clients ranging from corporate executives and business owners to retirees.
“We felt that it would provide us with more autonomy in regard to the day-to-day operations, and also it’ll be helpful for us to be able to grow,” Campbell said.
“Decisions and operations that were being made at senior levels in our prior firm are now going to be our decisions to make, and that’s going to allow us to better serve the clients’ best interest,” he said. “That’s probably the biggest advantage to being small and nimble.”
A UVA grad, Campbell worked for Merrill Lynch in Atlanta before moving to Richmond to work with his father, Colin Campbell, in the firm’s Richmond office. Colin Campbell retired in 2015, leaving his son and Deegan, a UR alum, to run the advisory team.
The pair is working to bring over former clients and integrate them with their system, Campbell said. He said Campbell Deegan will focus on financial planning services, such as retirement and education planning, and investment management, including taxable investment accounts and retirement accounts.
The firm was launched with assistance from Focus Independence, a division of Focus Financial that helps wealth management advisory teams launch their own firms. The division to date has helped 10 teams, which then become a partner of Focus Financial.
Partner firms maintain operational independence while receiving support services from the investment group, according to a company release. Campbell declined to share specifics about his firm’s arrangement with Focus.
“We felt like they were going to be a good partner from the standpoint of their strategic expertise, their capital,” he said. “It was the best environment to serve our clients, providing us with the resources to make the transition, as well as being able to learn from some of the best practices of some of the other registered investment advisors that they currently work with.
“We’re excited,” Campbell said. “We feel like we are going to be able to offer an even better client experience than we were before, and we’re excited about the possibilities going forward.”