Brown managed about $5.9 billion in client money at U.S. Trust, according to Barron's, which ranked him 28th on its 2009 list of the top 100 U.S. financial advisors. His new company, New York-based Dynasty Financial Partners, offers research and a technology platform for independent advisory firms.

Brokerages are focusing on the wealthiest individuals to boost profit margins. JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Deutsche Bank AG are hiring bankers devoted to helping affluent clients. Assets under management at the four top brokerages slipped 16 percent to $4.75 trillion from 2007 through 2009, while jumping almost 14 percent to $1.54 trillion at independent firms, according to researcher Aite Group LLC.

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