© 2020 Arizent. All rights reserved.

$386M Merrill Lynch advisor is latest to jump ship

Register now

An advisor ranked as one of Forbes’ top 100 advisors in Texas has decided to leave Merrill Lynch to go independent with BB&T Scott & Stringfellow, marking at least the 27th departure from the wirehouse since early May.

Don Bescher managed $386 million in assets at Merrill Lynch, according to Forbes. He was an advisor at the wirehouse for 21 years before he decided to move to regional BD BB&T Scott & Stringfellow.

Merrill Lynch has lost several teams, managing a combined $15 billion, in recent weeks, according to hiring announcements and Barron's. An advisor duo managing $610 million jumped to RBC. A father-son duo managing $133 million jumped to Janney Montgomery Scott in late May, and another two teams, which managed more than $1.2 billion combined, departed for J.P. Morgan Securities. Meanwhile, a team of three advisors managing $800 million left the wirehouse to set up an independent firm affiliated with Focus Financial Partners.

Adding to Merrill’s woes, the wirehouse has recently been subject to penalties and increased regulatory scrutiny since the SEC charged the wirehouse in mid-June for misleading clients into overpaying for residential mortgage backed securities and hiding where client transactions were taking place.

While Raymond James and Stifel are on hiring sprees, Wells Fargo is still losing talent.
June 26

A spokeswoman from Merrill Lynch did not respond to request for comment on Bescher’s departure.

Bescher will work from BB&T Scott & Stringfellow’s branch in Fort Worth, the third branch to open in Texas. It was opened in May by two other ex-Merrill Lynch advisors, Larry Milton and Philip Garcia, who left the wirehouse in early May, according to BrokerCheck.

“This market is vital to our growth plans for Texas, and this is the right team to assist with our efforts,” said Troy Schiermeyer, complex manager for BB&T Scott & Stringfellow in Texas, in a statement.

A spokesman from BB&T Scott & Stringfellow did not respond to request for further comment.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, click here.