When a four-member team joined RBC Wealth Management’s new Palm Desert, Calif., office last week from Bank of America Investments/Merrill Lynch, the move came after an extensive search.

That search included other wirehouse firms, regional firms, firms currently executing roll-up strategies and independent models, Ryan Wilson, now a vice president and financial advisor at RBC, said in an interview with On Wall Street on Friday.

“We looked at other firms and in every channel. We had one executive of another firm tell us that he’s never met a team that did as much due diligence as we did, and I don’t know that he meant it as a compliment,” Wilson said with a laugh.

The team, which operates under the name IAW Group, also includes Bob Iglehart, senior vice president and financial advisor; Gabriel Aguirre, vice president and financial advisor; and Courtney Hershberger, senior client associate. Together, they previously oversaw $280 million in client assets and generated more than $1.9 million in annual fees and commissions.

The team is comprised of legacy Bank of America Investments financial advisors, who made a full switch to Merrill Lynch about a year ago following a technology transition. Ultimately, they decided to look for a better cultural and strategic fit for their practice’s future, Wilson said. That included RBC’s parent company, which ranks highly in safety and stability when compared to other firms, Wilson said.

The clinching moment for the team to move to RBC came in a meeting with RBC U.S. Wealth Management Chief Executive John Taft, Wilson said. When asked by the team where he saw the firm in five years, Taft said he wants “better” for all of the firm’s practices instead of a number goal targeting a certain number of advisors or profit margin.

“It was a different mindset and it really resonated with us,” Wilson said. “They very much embrace the advisor and the advisor team’s ability to brand themselves.”

Iglehart has served at Bank of America since July 2002, according to his registration records with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, and was employed at Wells Fargo before that starting in July 1996.

Wilson has served at Bank of America since April 2008, FINRA records show, and has also worked at Chase Investment Services Corp. and GBS Financial Corp.

Aguirre joined Bank of America in October 2001, while Hershberger first joined Merrill Lynch in May 2000, and subsequently moved to Bank of America in September 2006.

The team helps open RBC’s new Palm Desert, Calif. location, where the firm plans to hire more financial advisors. RBC Wealth Management has almost 2,000 financial consultants in the U.S. and more than $227 billion in assets under management.




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