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2 teams, each managing $235M, leave Merrill Lynch

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After more than 30 years working as a financial advisor at Merrill Lynch, Michael Kernicky is moving to Janney Montgomery Scott and taking his sons with him. Together they oversaw $235 million in client assets.

The Kernicky team isn’t alone — Raymond James recently announced another $235-million team of three left Merrill Lynch to join the firm. And industrywide, six of the largest teams to move firms this year have come from Merrill Lynch, according to hiring announcements and recruiting data analyzed by On Wall Street.

Despite the moves, the wirehouse isn’t suffering. Merrill Lynch maintains a steady head count and is growing advisor books of business.

Meanwhile, regional broker-dealers are happy to take on new advisors from Merrill.

Firms like Raymond James have been benefitting from the departures. The firm’s head count grew by a 7.4% compound annual growth rate between 2011 and 2016, marking the fastest growth of any regional BD, according to a study by Cerulli Associates. In contrast, competitor Edward Jones grew its head count at a 4.2% rate, and Stifel Financial Group increased its advisor ranks by a 2.8% compound annual growth rate.

But smaller firms like Janney are growing, too.

Janney recently opened a new branch office in Delaware, marking the firm’s fifth new branch to open this year. The firm also hired another family team: Advisor William F. Peck comes to the firm with his son and client associate William N. Peck. The elder Peck oversaw $90 million in client assets at Brown Advisory before his arrival, according to Janney. He was at Brown for 13 years, according to FINRA BrokerCheck.

A Brown Advisory spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

The new $235-million team joining Raymond James includes David Patton, Miles O’Mailia and Theresa Cooper. Patton and O’Mailia previously worked at Merrill Lynch for 10 years, and Cooper was at Merrill Lynch for eight years, according to FINRA BrokerCheck.

A Merrill Lynch spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment on the departures.

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