By Matthias Rieker
On a Friday in early May, financial adviser Herman Rij put on his Merrill Lynch tie—pink, with light blue bulls—and went to work at the brokerage’s third-floor office in Bethlehem, Pa. He met with a client who had flown in from Arizona. Then he went in to see his boss—and resigned.
Merrill Lynch had no advance notice, but there was nothing sudden about the move. Over the past half year, Mr. Rij and his team at Merrill—daughter Kori Lannon, godson Jason Cort and Mr. Cort’s brother, Brian—had secretly and painstakingly put together their own advisory firm.