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RBC attracts former $610M Merrill Lynch duo

Merrill Lynch lost a $610-million team to RBC Wealth Management, making it the fourth such departure in recent weeks.

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Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) signage is displayed at the Royal Bank Plaza in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014. Royal Bank of Canada Chief Executive Officer David McKay said U.S. moves to normalize relations with Cuba present an opportunity for the lender to return to the Caribbean nation. Photographer: Kevin Van Paassen/Bloomberg

The Johnson Prince Group is comprised of Daniel Johnson, a senior vice president and financial advisor who has 21 years of industry experience, and John Prince, a senior vice president and financial advisor with 26 years of experience.

The duo joins the firm’s Century City branch in Southern California. They will be joined by senior registered client associate Kim Johnson (no relation to Daniel). The team will continue to serve high-net-worth clients.

Johnson and Prince were drawn to RBC for its boutique wealth management environment that is backed by the resources of one of the world’s largest banks, says Joseph Vanderdonck, the branch director who recruited the team. Johnson and Prince were not available to comment directly.

“That’s a unique combination in our industry,” Vanderdonck adds. “I think you compare that to many of our wirehouse competitors out there and it shows very differently. It’s very broker-friendly, very client focused and very supportive of people running their business in the fashion that they think best for their own clients.”

Indeed, advisors that have left wirehouses have cited the management style of the large banks as a key reason to head for the door. In addition to RBC, Merrill Lynch has recently lost advisors to D.A. Davidson, Raymond James and Stifel. Merrill Lynch did not respond to a request for comment on the latest move.

“One of the reasons I think [Johnson and Prince] were attracted to us is our relationship with City National Bank,” says Michael Melton, RBC’s Southern California complex director. “It offers a kind of deeper and broader capability across all lines both in wealth management as well as providing banking services.”

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