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Morgan wins back $1.8M adviser who left 4 months ago for Merrill

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An adviser who quit Morgan Stanley to join Merrill Lynch in September, changed his mind and returned to work for his former employer this month, according to BrokerCheck records.

A Morgan spokeswoman confirmed that Brad Weinman rejoined Morgan Stanley in West Palm Beach, Florida.

When Merrill hired Weinman in September, the firm said he generated $1.8 million in revenues and oversaw $240 million in client assets. A spokeswoman for the firm could not be reached for comment on his departure so soon after joining.

Bill Willis, a Los Angeles-based recruiter, says it's "extremely rare" to see an adviser make such a turnaround.

"First there's the financial end of it, but secondly there's having to move your clients twice. It's tricky at best. I don't know him or his clients. Maybe he has just a few and it's easier, but it sounds like he put himself through a pretty complicated few months," Willis says.

"The whole thing is pretty unusual," Willis adds. "The competition for talent is strong enough that I guess they would take him back."

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Weinman, an industry veteran with nearly 30 years of industry experience, had been with Morgan Stanley and Smith Barney for 18 years before he made the move, per FINRA BrokerCheck records.

A month after he joined Merrill, the wirehouse announced that it would cease offering commission-based retirement accounts as part of its plan to comply with the Department of Labor's fiduciary rule.

The regulation, which is set to become effective on April 10, governs how brokers advise clients on retirement assets.

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Merrill has placed greater emphasis on goals-based planning in recent years. And Merrill has noted that clients looking for a commission-based offering, have other solutions at the firm, such as the self-directed service Merrill Edge and a forthcoming robo adviser.

Weinman, however, decided that he didn't want to lose such business and chose to return to Morgan, according to a person familiar with the matter and who asked not to be named. The wirehouse will continue to offer clients that option under the rule's best interest contract exemption.

Meanwhile, the fate of the fiduciary rule is uncertain. President Trump has promised a sweeping regulatory rollback, but has not spoken about this specific regulation. Some industry insiders are looking to the administration to overturn or delay implementation of the rule. Fiduciary advocates are trying to defend the regulation.

If the rule stays, Willis says that some firms might restrict their use of the BIC exemption.

"I wonder how long firms will allow it because, for me, it looks like a gateway to lawsuits. I think firms will be very careful on their oversight of those accounts," he says.

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