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RBC grabs $426M team from Merrill Lynch

In pursuit of better service for clients, two advisors who managed $426 million at Merrill Lynch are making the jump to RBC Wealth Management.

While RBC has said it is adjusting its focus and emphasizing organic growth efforts, the firm continues to reel in top teams.

In the meantime, wirehouses like Merrill Lynch are seeing some of their top teams walk out the door. Regardless, the firm’s head count is relatively steady as it actively recruits new advisors with three to eight years of experience. In the second quarter, the firm lost only nine brokers from the previous quarter in terms of head count.

Revenue is rising in Bank of America’s wealth management unit — it went up 20% from the second quarter in the year-ago period.

Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) headquarters building in Toronto, Canada, on Thursday, April 6, 2017 Bloomberg News
Pedestrians are reflected next to signage displayed inside the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) headquarters building during the company's annual general meeting in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on Thursday, April 6, 2017. RBC Chief Executive Officer David urged lawmakers to coordinate interventions and act quickly to cool housing markets, particularly in Toronto and Vancouver. Photographer: Cole Burston/Bloomberg

Still, top producers are leaving the wirehouse — this time it’s a team of two advisors, Joseph Chu and Christopher Phillips. They and their two client associates are joining the Stamford, Connecticut, branch of RBC. They moved at the end of August, according to FINRA BrokerCheck.

This is the first move for Chu, who has spent the entirety of his 16-year financial career at the wirehouse, according to FINRA BrokerCheck. Phillips has 14 years of experience, 13 of which he spent at Merrill Lynch.

Chu cited that one reason the team joined RBC was to pursue growth.

“Providing our clients with the best possible service is of utmost importance to our team, so we believe RBC is the best place for us to do that, as well as continue to grow our practice,” Chu said in a statement.

The team was not available for further comment on the departure.

RBC has approximately 1,800 advisors operating in 42 states. It manages approximately $353 billion in assets, according to the firm.

A spokeswoman at Merrill Lynch declined to comment on the departure.

The move follows another big recruiting win announced by RBC just a few weeks earlier. A separate team of two advisors managing $550 million in combined client assets joined the firm from Wells Fargo.

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