RBC Wealth Management has tapped Michael Melton, a former Morgan Stanley complex manager for the San Diego/Palm Desert market, to oversee its recently established San Diego office.

The move is part of RBC’s continued focus on expansion in Southern California. In November, the firm recruited four Morgan Stanley advisors with over $500 million in assets to build out the San Diego office.

“I am thrilled to welcome Mike to the San Diego branch,” RBC's Southern California complex director, Ken Sullivan, said in a statement. “His demonstrated integrity, leadership abilities and commitment to serving clients make him an excellent addition to the southern California management team.”

At his new post, Melton’s primary emphasis will be on recruiting new advisors and helping to expand RBC’s focus on international investors. In a few years, he hopes that he may also be able to take on clients again as well, a side of the business he missed as complex manager.

“I know several many of my friends at our [level] of experience are somewhat deterred by looking at that avenue [of a producing manager],” he said. “Obviously, my first task and priority is to help build out and develop the office from a recruiting standpoint, but then also the client aspect is something that I’m looking forward to as well.”

With over two decades of experience, Melton began his career in 1992 at UBS before moving to Smith Barney in 2003 and to Morgan Stanley through the 2009 merger. He said he was drawn to RBC’s flat management structure, the ability to work with the team of four from Morgan Stanley, whom he had known for a number of years, and the international element of the position.

“With experience doing that with Smith Barney, it’s a business venture that has always been very near and dear to my heart,” Melton said. “You’ve got the nimbleness and the ability to really do some things on an entrepreneurial level that doesn’t really exist any longer in the bulge bracket firms.”

In addition to opening a San Diego office, RBC established a branch in Manhattan Beach, Calif., in December. The advisors in the San Diego branch are currently operating out of the La Jolla, Calif., office until they move to a permanent home in downtown San Diego this fall.

“We’re certainly looking forward -- as we kick this thing off here in the next few months -- [to] building this story here in downtown San Diego,” Melton said.

Overall the Minneapolis, Minn.-based firm has around 2,000 financial advisors in more than 200 offices around the country.

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