Members of the Meridian 6 RIA.

A group of seven Morgan Stanley (MS) advisors and their staff has left the wirehouse to form its own RIA in Wichita, Kansas.

The founding members of 6 Meridian, who collectively managed $2.2 billion of client assets for about 900 households, are Thomas Kirk, Margaret Dechant, Andrew Mies, Bryan Green, Stevan Bahm, Pamela Smith and Sarah Hampton. They will now work with BNY Mellon’s Pershing Advisor Solutions as its custodian.

The advisors each spent an average of about eight years at Morgan Stanley.

“Our team has built our business on providing exceptional customer service and evolving our practice to meet the constantly changing needs of our clients and the changing industry landscape. We formed 6 Meridian so that we can adapt and respond to these changes,” said 6 Meridian CEO Margaret Dechant, in a statement. “Our desire to more closely align with our clients and be held to the fiduciary standard played a major part in our decision to form our own firm.”

The group said the RIA will be growing its investment offerings via more options for how it manages money in-house and by working with more third-party investment managers. Plus, 6 Meridian plans to launch other investment vehicles in the future to expand the distribution of its portfolios.

“The advisory landscape is changing rapidly. Advisors who are going to thrive will have to provide clients with more choices and more transparency,” said Pershing Advisor Solutions CEO Mark Tibergien, in a statement. “We are excited to work with 6 Meridian and provide them with solutions that will help position them as one of the largest and most innovative RIAs in the U.S.”

Following its move to independence, 6 Meridian aims to offer clients a suite of wealth-management services including asset allocation, retirement/financial planning, investment management, asset protection/insurance planning, legacy planning and cash management.

“Over the past several years, we examined how we currently serve clients and how we want to serve them in the future. It became clear that our ability to deliver on the vision we have for our business required us to make a change,” said 6 Meridian Chief Investment Officer Andrew Mies, in a press release.

Also, the new Department of Labor fiduciary rules seem to have played a role in the group’s move to independence.

“It became clear to us as we did our research that the future of the business will be with independent firms operating solely for the benefit of their clients and without any conflicts of interest,” said Tom Kirk, senior managing director of 6 Meridian, in a statement.

The RIA’s advisors have the following career paths, according to FINRA Brokercheck:

• Kirk, 35 years as an advisor with J. O. Davidson, Paine Webber, Prudential, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley.

• Dechant, 14 years as an FA with Citigroup and Morgan Stanley.

• Mies, 12 years as an FA with JPMorgan, Ladenburg Thalmann, Prudential and Morgan Stanley.

• Green, 20 years as an FA with Mony Securities, Quest Capital, Banc of America Securities, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley.

• Bahm, 35 years as an FA with First Mid-America, Lehman Brothers, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley.

• Smith, 18 years as an FA with IFG Network Securities, Morgan Stanley Dean Whitter, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley.

• Hampton, 11 years as an advisor with Cap Pro Brokerage Services, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley.

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