$400M adviser departs Merrill Lynch, goes indie with Raymond James
Adviser Michael Jeppson, who oversaw more than $400 million in client assets, has left Merrill Lynch for Raymond James' independent channel, the firm said.
Jeppson is one of a number of recent departures from Merrill Lynch.
Jeppson opened his new eponymously named practice in Manhattan Beach, California, in February. Raymond James announced the move this week. He previously generated $1.8 million in annual production at his prior firm, according to Raymond James.
Also making the move is Angie Duso, senior client services manager.
Jeppson said in a statement that he interviewed with "a number of the major financial services firms," but was attracted to Raymond James' platform and capabilities.
"We like the way Raymond James encourages us to make decisions in our clients' best interests and does not dictate how we should run our practice," he said.
Jeppson has twice worked at Merrill Lynch. He started his career at the wirehouse in 1985, leaving in 1991 for Lehman Brothers. He returned to Merrill in 2008, according to FINRA BrokerCheck records.
"We like the way Raymond James encourages us to make decisions in our clients' best interests and does not dictate how we should run our practice," adviser Michael Jeppson said.
A spokeswoman for the wirehouse was not available for an immediate comment.
Some of the advisers who have recently left Merrill Lynch cited differences over account size minimums and Merrill's plans to cease offering commission-based retirement accounts to clients.
Merrill Lynch's brokerage force declined by 145 advisers during the first quarter from the prior period. However, long-term AUM flows were $29.5 billion for the quarter, up from $18.9 billion for the year-ago period, which the company credited in part to clients shifting from brokerage IRAs to fee-based relationships.
Raymond James, meanwhile, reported that profits fell 65% year-over-year due to litigation costs. But the firm's headcount continued to grow due to strong recruiting efforts, climbing to 7,222 independent and employee advisers from 7,128 for the prior quarter.