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Merrill Lynch loses $380M team to D.A. Davidson

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Merrill Lynch has lost a team of advisors managing approximately $380 million in client assets to D.A. Davidson.

The firm recently reported that advisor headcount dropped by 130 from the prior quarter to 14,829, attributing this to seasonal hiring and fewer trainees. Bank of America CFO Paul Donofrio told analysts during an earnings call that the company has “experienced record low competitive advisor attrition for the quarter.”

The McCarty, Brown & Eden Financial Advisor Group will be a part of D.A. Davidson’s newly opened Colorado Springs, Colorado, office, serving individual investors, families and businesses. D.A. Davidson has had a presence in the Denver area since 2004, when it opened an office serving institutional clients with fixed income and equity capital markets services.

Across the company D.A. Davidson has a total of 360 financial advisors, a spokeswoman said.

“D.A. Davidson is always looking to grow. We spent the last several years integrating two significant combinations with Smith-Hayes in Nebraska and then Crowell-Weedon down in California,” says Michael Purpura, president of D.A. Davidson Wealth Management. “There aren’t many combination opportunities left, so about six or seven months ago we recommitted ourselves to recruiting and got more aggressive in recruiting.”

Members of the new group include Brandon Brown, a 20-year industry veteran and senior vice president and branch manager at the firm; Ky (Sterling) McCarty, who has 30-years of industry experience and also serves as a senior vice president; John Eden, who has 20 years of experience in the field and will serve as vice president; and associate financial advisors Sandra D’Angelo and Mike Zolcinski. The advisors will be joined by three client associates Jennifer Chavez, Shanna Pooler and Rachelle Jones.

“This is a great team,” Purpura says. “Solid people, well entrenched in the Colorado Springs market [and] brought a very client-centric practice. When we had a chance to meet the people it was obvious from minute one that they were exactly the type of people we wanted to start a branch with.”

Purpura described Colorado Springs as a “very dynamic market” and part of the fastest growing county in Colorado, making it a prime location for the new branch office.
Purpura says one of the main reasons the team was attracted to D.A. Davidson was due to the overhaul in its technological offerings over the last several years. The firm revamped its core operating system and CRM.

“The other thing that I think attracted this team to us is that they are primarily advisory-based financial advisors and we’ve made a significant commitment to team up with Envestnet and overhaul all elements of our advisory platform,” Purpura says. “That was a must to attract teams like this team and other larger teams.”

Advisors have been wirehouses for what they say are the greater freedoms of smaller firms, broker-dealers and independent practices.

Meanwhile, at D.A. Davidson, recruiting is an ongoing priority for the rest of fiscal 2018, Purpura says, adding that the firm has a “very good pipeline of experienced financial advisors.”

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