In March, Peter Sargent stunned the wirehouse community by leaving Merrill Lynch to launch Sargent Wealth Management at the Philadelphia, Pa.-based regional firm Janney Montgomery Scott. Sargent, who is 42, worked at Merrill for two decades, and had just begun in January a term as Chairman of Merrill’s esteemed national Advisory Council to Management (ACTM), which advises Merrill management on advisory issues. His career has so far been littered with accomplishments. During his years at Merrill, he was frequently named to Barron’s Top 1,000 financial advisors; in 2006 at the age of 38, he was named among the “Top 40 Advisors Under 40″; and he has often been interviewed by national media outlets for his financial acumen.
As Peter’s friend, confidant, and career advisor for more than a decade, I had the opportunity to talk with him about why he chose to leave Merrill, and what lies ahead.