Parlaying Cloak-and-Dagger Skills into 'Pure Financial Independence'

In 2008, David Hou and Mark Sear famously synchronized their watches to pull off their precise breakaway from Merrill Lynch Private Investment Group in Los Angeles to create Luminous Capital. See: Merrill Lynch stars take a leap of faith to a new office — and independence.

But all good jailbreaks need a getaway driver. In the case of Luminous, Hou and Sear tapped Matt Sonnen. He’d left Merrill Lynch in 2005 to try his hand at selling insurance. Turned out insurance wasn’t for him, so Sonnen was receptive when Hou asked if he could oversee the formation of the new firm outside the confines of Merrill Lynch. See: Hou-Sear team can’t always beat RIAs so it joins them.

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