Merrill Lynch abruptly parts ways with top financial adviser

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Thomas J. Buck, who spent 34 years at the local office of Merrill Lynch while becoming one of the country’s top financial advisers, has abruptly parted ways with the investment firm.

A spokesman for Bank of America, which owns Merrill Lynch, said Tuesday that Buck, 61, was “no longer with the firm.” He said the split took place last week, but  declined to provide a reason for the separation or make further comment.

Industry sources said Merrill Lynch ousted Buck. He could not be reached for comment.

Merrill Lynch has purged its website of all information about Buck, who had been senior vice president of investments and ran The Buck Group, a team of about a dozen advisers, including his daughter, Ann Buck.

The company spokesman said Ann Buck, 29, also left the firm last week.

Mark Maddox, a securities attorney for Indianapolis-based Maddox Hargett & Caruso, said Buck has a reputation in the industry as a “heavy hitter.”

“It’s safe to assume something pretty serious had to have happened for Merrill Lynch to let go of Tom Buck, who has been their largest producer for several years,” said Maddox, who served as Indiana’s securities commissioner from 1989 to 1991.

Barron's, which has ranked Buck as the top financial adviser in Indiana every year since 2009, said he had $1.5 billion in client assets under management. His roughly 500 clients had a typical net worth of $10 million, Barron’s reported.

He was ranked 80th on Barron’s 2014 list of the country’s top 100 financial advisers.

Buck has a bachelor's degree in economics and an MBA in finance from Indiana University, where he was three-year letterman as a linebacker on the football team in the mid-1970s.

A recent bio said Buck served on the board of deacons and the stewardship committee at his church, Second Presbyterian. He co-chaired the USGA Senior Men's Open at Crooked Stick Golf Club in 2009 and BMW championship in 2012. He also volunteers on the dean's advisory board for the College of Arts and Sciences at IU.


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