Ex-Merrill Star Patrick Dwyer Joins Boston Private Following Dismissal

October 15, 2019

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Patrick Dwyer, the Barron’s “Top 100” broker who resigned under pressure in August after a 25-year career with Merrill Lynch, has joined Boston Private Financial Holdings’ private wealth division, the publicly traded company said on Tuesday.

Dwyer, whose 11 team associates remain at Merrill, will seek to rebuild his practice and assume the newly created title of “head of strategic business development” to recruit brokers, particularly around his home base in Miami, Florida.

Dwyer, whose team’s $3.7 billion of customer assets and $10 million of annual revenue contributed to his 2019 ranking as #27 in the national Barron’s ranking, referred calls to comment to Boston Private. Sources familiar with his search had said he had hoped to land a position with UBS Financial Services or Morgan Stanley, but that the firms were uncomfortable with disclosures on his record.

“Patrick has extensive experience building and growing a holistic wealth advisory practice and managing a high-performance team,” Paul Simons, president of Boston Private’s private banking, wealth and trust units said in a prepared statement. “His leadership will have a substantial impact on our firm as we continue to execute on our growth initiatives.”

Dwyer had a personal connection to Simons, a former co-head of Credit Suisse’s U.S. private banking business, according to a person familiar with his search.

Boston Private has been expanding from its core private banking expertise into broader wealth management under Chief Executive Anthony DeChellis. The former CEO of Credit Suisse’s now-defunct Private Banking Americas division, who was also a former wealth executive at Merrill and UBS, joined Boston Private in November 2018.

“A leading indicator of our progress will be our onboarding of talent,” DeChellis said on an earnings call in July.

Boston Private is introducing a new compensation formula for Dwyer that had to be approved by the board and is intended to resemble the grid-based compensation formula at wirehouses, the source said.

DeChellis this year announced a goal of more than tripling the company’s assets under management to $50 billion by 2022 from $16.2 billion as  of June 30. On the earnings call he said it will be accomplished by “deepening our relationships with existing banking and wealth management clients and by significantly increasing our relationship manager headcount through various strategic initiatives.”

Merrill reported on Dwyer’s U5 report that Dwyer voluntarily resigned following allegations that he “engaged in activities inconsistent with Firm standards and policies…, including conduct relating to governmental lobbying activities that the registered representative represented were taken after consultation with his personal counsel.”

Dwyer’s lawyer, Jeffrey Sonn, did not immediately return a request for comment. Sonn said in August that Dwyer’s activities had been “above board.”

The “Miami Herald” reported in July that Dwyer contributed $25,000 in 2018 to the campaign of Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Petronis in an alleged attempt to influence state regulators to support the broker’s bid to expunge seven customer complaints from his record.

Dwyer has been engaged in a long-running campaign to clean his Central Registration Depository record of the complaints.

In 2015, a California judge denied his two-year courtroom battle against Finra (filed under the pseudonym John Doe) for expungement, leading him to file for the record-cleaning under his own name in a Finra arbitration. He won the arbitration case in the summer of 2017, but Finra responded in February 2018 with the rare step of seeking to vacate the award. It accused Dwyer of  “forum shopping” and of “fraudulent manipulation” by failing to disclose the court decision.

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