Merrill Ousts Star Chicago Broker Whose Team Includes Niece of Firm’s Wealth Boss
(Corrects date of Lee’s first job as a registered rep to 1986 in last paragraph.)
Merrill Lynch has fired Bruce K. Lee, a star broker whose second-in-command at the Chicago Private Banking and Investment Group office is the niece of Merrill Lynch Wealth head Andy Sieg.
Lee was dismissed last week over allegations that he had an assistant complete a required training module in his name and over temper issues, according to several sources. Lee did not return a call left at his home.
His team, which advertises that he has been ranked in Barron’s lists of Top Financial Advisors since 2007, manages more than $2 billion of client assets and generated about $8 million of revenue last year, said two people familiar with its metrics.
The team’s website lists Lee as a managing director and Caitlin Sieg, an assistant vice president, as the only other member with a corporate title. Both are designated as private wealth managers. The four other team members are listed as relationship managers and private wealth associates.
Caitlin Sieg, whose father, Phil, retired from Merrill in March 2017 shortly after his younger brother took the reins of the Bank of America-owned retail brokerage giant, did not immediately return a call for comment. A longtime executive at Merrill and at Shearson Lehman Brothers, Phil Sieg was head of Ultra High Net Worth “client solutions and segments” for the Merrill PBIG group when he left.
Like her father and uncle, Caitlin Sieg is a graduate of the Pennsylvania State University system, according to the Lee team’s website. She first registered as a broker in August 2012, according to her BrokerCheck history, and moved to Chicago to work on Lee’s team within the last two years, the sources said.
A Merrill spokesman confirmed Lee’s departure but declined further comment.
Lee has been a registered representative for 31 years, according to his BrokerCheck record, starting his career at Bear, Stearns in 1986. He also worked at Dillon Read, Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse Securities (USA) before joining Merrill in 2011. His BrokerCheck record includes a single disclosure, a customer allegation in 2013 of unsuitable investment recommendations that was denied.
Lee’s departure was reported earlier on Tuesday by “Investment News.”
—Jed Horowitz contributed to this story.