Forbes' No. 1 Utah-based private wealth manager for 2021 changed teams last week, apparently moving close to $3 billion in Assets Under Management in the process to Morgan Stanley from competitor Merrill Lynch.

Dane Runia and the eponymously named The Runia Group officially left Merrill last Monday and has decamped its former "River Bottoms" offices in Provo for an as yet unnamed location under the Morgan umbrella.

According to AdvisorHub, Runia's office had approximately $2.95 billion in AUM, although Barron's places the assets total at $3.2 billion.

Regardless of the actual AUM total, the reality is that Utah's top financial advisor has decided to switch teams.

AUTHOR'S COMMENTARY

What's interesting about this to me is that although many do not consider Utah to be a financial center on a global basis, it's not exactly a monetary backwater anymore either.

In fact, a quick review of the 2021 Forbes ranking of Utah's top 30 Best-In-State Wealth Advisor List shows slightly over $24 billion in combined total AUM among them.

Given the economic tear that Utah's business community has been on for the past decade or more (and it's just getting hotter, IMHO), the reality is that Utah (aka, the Silicon Slopes ecosystem [which stretches from Brigham City on the north to Mesquite on the South]), is creating more and more millionaires, deca-millionaires, and centi-millionaires every year. (And the occasional billionaire as well.)

To be clear, such wealth does trickle down throughout an economy.

And when a Silicon Slopes-based company "goes public" or is acquired, we often see that others beyond the original founders also win in the process.

Typically, not at the level of the original founders or of the C-Level executives, but a financial windfall of tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars is not unusual either for other employees who earned or were granted shares, phantom shares, options, and/or warrants in their employer.

And that is on top of what appears to be increasing wages and benefits packages in many Utah firms, not just those in the tech or life science sectors.

So ... although ~$3 billion isn't in the same galaxy as the $9.49 trillion that BlackRock currently holds as AUM, it ain't nothin'.

And so when someone like Runia decides to make a significant change like shifting his business to Morgan Stanley, it IS newsworthy.

And not just here in Utah.

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