Blaine Werner and Margo Werner, 44 Wealth Management Blaine Werner and Margo Werner of 44 Wealth Management

Former Merrill Lynch Managing Director Blaine Werner has broken away to launch RIA 44 Wealth Management in partnership with Tru Independence, a platform that provides advisors with technology and business services.

Werner has been an advisor with Merrill since 1977 and managed about $400 million at Merrill in Eugene, Oregon. He’ll be joined by daughter Margo Werner, an advisor, and three client associates. The team focuses mainly on families and business-owner clients and specialize in legacy planning.

“This move allows us to expand our ability to do just that,” according to Werner. “Joining the Tru family will be essential to our success as we continue to navigate the complexities of the launch of an independent wealth management firm.”

Tru Independence, founded in 2014, provides access to technology, in-house C-suite level personnel and specialists in business management.

“Blaine and his team are a seasoned and experience group of hardworking, dedicated individuals who uphold the fiduciary duty,” said Tru Independence CEO Craig Stuvland in a statement. “We are excited to continue to work with them and be a part of growing their independent advisory firm.”

Last week another Merrill Lynch group jumped ship, joining First Republic Bank. The group, led by 36-year veteran Phil Scott, has 12 members and is based in the Seattle area; it works with about $2.5 billion of client assets, according to Barron’s.

Separately, Arnoldo Santiago recently left Merrill Lynch to become UBS’ assistant market head for Northern California. Santiago, who has 22 years in the business, recently has worked with about $76 million of assets and about $640,000 of yearly fees and commissions.

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