Merrill Lynch appears to be hemorrhaging talent as two more advisory teams leave the wirehouse for rival firms, the latest in a string of exits that goes back almost a year.
Janney Montgomery Scott managed to poach a team with $128 million in client assets from Merrill. The Steinmetz Jackson Wealth Group will be a part of Janney’s Fort Lauderdale, Florida location.
Advisors Kenneth Steinmetz and James Jackson make up the Steinmetz Jackson Wealth Group. The pair has close to two decades of experience in the industry between them.
“They were looking to be in the best situation they possibly could be for the long haul,” says Michael O’Mara, Janney’s Fort Lauderdale branch office manager. “And they chose us.”
The advisors were drawn to Janney for its small size and greater flexibility.
“The ability to hire their own PCA, the ability to manage their book because we don’t have proprietary products, to be able to offer financial advisory products without prejudice,” is the flexibility that brought the firm to Janney, O’Mara explains.
Steinmetz and Jackson were not available to comment directly.
The Clements-Langdon Group joins RBC, as the firm expands its Raleigh, North Carolina office. The group managed approximately $300 million in client assets while with Merrill Lynch.
Kyle Clements is a senior vice president and a financial advisor with almost 30 years of experience in the wealth management industry. Will Langdon, another senior VP and CRPC, has 19 years of experience. Registered client associate Marj Jurek is also making the move with the team.
Clements and Langdon were drawn to RBC because of the attention the firm gives its current client base.
“We have always believed that our existing clients are more important and deserving of our energy and attention than the possible ‘next one,’” the firm said in a statement. “It became clear to us that RBC is focused on the client-advisor relationship, with the emphasis on client choice being key evidence of that fact.”
Clements and Langdon were not available to comment directly. Merrill Lynch did not respond to a request for comment.
Advisors are ditching Merrill as some don’t believe the firm will remain in the Broker Protocol, according to Danny Sarch, president of recruiting firm Leitner Sarch Consultants. Sarch makes this assertion based on conversations he has had with some Merrill planners.
“Most Merrill advisors believe that Merrill will leave the protocol eventually,” Sarch says. “So if you don’t think that this is where you want to spend your career, you might as well get out while you can.”
Concerns about Merrill leaving the agreement come even as Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan said in January that Merrill is committed to the agreement.
It makes sense for an advisor that anticipates Merrill will leave the prootocol to make the switch to a new firm, Sarch adds. He says it would be “silly” not to consider leaving while the protocol’s protections are still in place.