Matt Kilgroe and his team have left UBS Group AG, where they managed $1.2 billion in client assets, to start Cyndeo Wealth Partners in his hometown of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Kilgroe, 54, spent 21 years at Merrill Lynch before moving to UBS in St. Pete, where he worked for eight years. While Cyndeo has a number of old land-owning Florida families as clients, its seven advisers also work with corporate executives, business owners and professional athletes in about 40 U.S states, he said.

“The reason for the move was a combination of succession planning and looking at the younger generation,” Kilgroe said in an interview. “Whether it’s social media or podcasts, from a marketing standpoint it’s night and day in terms of what you can when do you’re on your own versus being in a wirehouse.”

A UBS spokesman declined to comment.

Last year saw a regular flow of teams leaving big banks to set up their own operations. Smaller firms such as Rockefeller Capital Management also lured staff as the number of wealthy people in the U.S. -- and the amounts they control -- soared. The pace has slowed as the global pandemic spread to the U.S., and this is one of the few moves to be announced since the lockdowns began.

Kilgroe’s team is relatively young -- two in their 50s, two in their 40s and three in their 30s-- but the firm is also interested in appealing to advisers who may eventually want to retire in Florida, he said.

“We have the opportunity to be somewhat of a destination for advisers who may want a change of lifestyle,” said Kilgroe, whose office looks out over Tampa Bay. “If you think about the average demographic of the financial adviser, who is in their late 50s or early 60s, coming to Florida could be appealing.”

Kilgroe is working with Dynasty Financial Partners, a venture created by former Citigroup Inc. executives that provides record-keeping services, trading platforms and product offerings, Dynasty said Tuesday. The firm moved its headquarters from New York to St. Pete last year and Cyndeo is its first announced breakaway deal since the pandemic began.

“This team in our new hometown has been on everyone’s radar in terms of people trying to recruit them,” said Shirl Penney, Dynasty’s chief executive officer, who called the transaction “a significant win.”

Penney sees pent-up demand among advisers looking to strike out on their own after turbulent markets prompted some planned breakaways to delay.

“I’d expect the independent wealth-management space to have a pretty good summer,” he said.

This article was provided by Bloomberg News.