Slideshow Advisers on the move: Merrill Lynch loses 6 teams over fiduciary changes

Published
  • April 05 2017, 11:53am EDT
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Advisers on the move: Merrill Lynch loses teams over fiduciary changes

Some advisers have decided to switch firms in order to continue offering clients commission-based retirement accounts.

Merrill Lynch, which announced plans to cease offering such accounts as part of its efforts to comply with the fiduciary rule, has lost several teams to Morgan Stanley, Raymond James and HighTower, totaling at least $890 million in assets under management.

However, Merrill was also the beneficiary of several moves. A former Morgan Stanley team team with $343 million in AUM recently jumped to Merrill Lynch.

In other moves, J.P. Morgan Securities lost a team that oversaw $829 million to Morgan Stanley.

Scroll through to learn more about these adviser moves and others. For a look at our previous roundup, click here.

Breakaway $200M Merrill team joins HighTower, citing fiduciary principles

A breakaway Merrill Lynch team managing almost $200 million in client assets has joined HighTower Advisors as the RIA's first equity partner of the year.

Jim Ewing and Michael Cona brought Ewing/Cona Wealth Management to the hybrid RIA and broker-dealer in the Philadelphia area, HighTower announced. The Marlton, New Jersey, group has been together for a decade.

Ewing and Cona, both 43, picked the firm because of its fiduciary standards, as well as the chance to work at an “adviser-owned” and “employee-owned” firm rather than a “bank-owned” one, Ewing says. The office is HighTower’s first in South Jersey.

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Merrill's fiduciary policy sparks defection of 3 teams to Morgan Stanley

Three Merrill Lynch teams that oversaw approximately $575 million in client assets departed for Morgan Stanley, according to people familiar with the matter.

Advisers Carla Erikson and Lisa Rinzler-Lubel parted ways with Merrill after three decades, according to FINRA BrokerCheck records. They left the wirehouse partly due to Merrill's plans to cease offering commission-based retirement accounts, according to three people with knowledge of the team's move.

Unlike Merrill, Morgan Stanley has said it will maintain a commission offering under the fiduciary rule's best interest contract exemption.

Other advisers have left Merrill Lynch over its fiduciary plans.

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$1M Merrill producer jumps to Raymond James, cites fiduciary policy

A Merrill Lynch adviser who generated over $1 million in annual revenue moved to Raymond James, citing the firm's culture and plans to comply with the fiduciary rule.

Patricia Bennett and two assistants joined the firm in Louisville, Kentucky, where she reunites with branch manager Tom Hirsch who also previously worked at Merrill.

Bennett was attracted to Raymond James in part because the regional firm, in contrast to Merrill Lynch, has said it would continue to offer commission-based under the fiduciary rule.

"We want to be able to rise to whatever the occasion is based on the client's needs," she tells On Wall Street.

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Account minimum issues spur $115M Merrill adviser to leave

A Merrill Lynch adviser with $115 million in client assets switched to Raymond James after nine years with the wirehouse, according to his new company.

Brad Parsons made the move because of the regional firm’s greater flexibility for advisers around the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule, as well as its marketing support, he says.

The Charlotte, North Carolina, adviser operating as Parsons Wealth Management also cites Merrill’s minimum $250,000 account-size rule, a concern shared by other ex-Merrill advisers.

“You can do business with anybody, any asset size,” says Parsons, 54, of his new company. “I have lots of clients under a quarter million who I know are going to be over $1 million or $2 million in a few years.”

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Morgan Stanley lands $829M team in latest recruiting grab

Morgan Stanley recruited a J.P. Morgan Securities team that oversaw more $829 million in client assets, a spokeswoman said.

Advisers Donald Fung, Matt Palleschi, John Campbell and Brian Bechelli joined Morgan Stanley last week in Menlo Park, California. They report to Scott Rash, complex manager.

Their combined production is approximately $4.3 million, according to Morgan Stanley.

For Morgan Stanley, the new hires represent the latest recruiting win. The wirehouse has swept up several sizable teams so far this year.

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Morgan team with $343M in AUM jumps to Merrill amid recruiting rivalry

Four Morgan Stanley advisers with $343 million in assets under management jumped to Merrill Lynch, the firm said.

Michael Greenstone, John Araneo, Margie Manning and Anita Srivastava of the GAM group joined Merrill in a suburban New York City branch after 29 combined years at Morgan. Merrill announced the move, having added at least a half dozen ex-Morgan advisers in 2017.

Yet Morgan has recruited at least 10 advisers from Merrill so far this year. With 15,763 advisers, Morgan has 1,134 more than Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch, according to the two companies’ latest earnings reports.

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Ameriprise snatches $500M Wells Fargo team

A Wells Fargo team with $500 million in assets under management left the firm for Ameriprise's employee channel, according to the company.

Donald Alderman, Robert Holt, Jamie O'Brien and Scott Laney joined the regional broker-dealer in Charleston, South Carolina, Ameriprise announced. O'Brien assumed the role of branch manager.

Ameriprise also said it added Anthony Trotta from Wells Fargo in Cincinnati and John Maita from UBS in Bedminster, New Jersey. The firm has attracted at least a dozen ex-wirehouse advisers so far in 2017, including the latest sweep.

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Wells Fargo team bolts to new Benjamin Edwards office

A Wells Fargo team bolted to a new office of Benjamin F. Edwards, part of a group of five advisers who manage $464 million joining the firm, according to the company.

Bruce Evans, William Pickens, John Templeton and Zack Vaughn grew Benjamin Edwards' footprint to 61 offices by opening the Germantown, Tennessee, location. Former Ameriprise adviser Thomas Kintz also moved in February to the firm's Boynton Beach, Florida, branch.

The five advisers followed other onetime A.G. Edwards brokers to the company launched after A.G. Edwards' 2008 acquisition by Wachovia and, subsequently, Wells Fargo. The suburban Memphis office marks an overall headcount of 450 employees in 26 states for Benjamin Edwards.

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Snowden Lane grabs $160M Merrill team in latest hire

Two Merrill Lynch advisers overseeing $160 million in client assets bolted to launch a Snowden Lane Partners office, according to their new firm.

Ryan Kirby and Chris Hayes, the Kirby-Hayes Group, joined the growing hybrid RIA in Salisbury, Maryland. The pair, who opened Snowden Lane’s eighth office, will operate under the firm’s Bethesda location to form a team managing $450 million, the company announced.

“We are expanding our regional presence and the Kirby-Hayes group is yet another partnership that makes our independent model so successful,” Snowden Lane President Greg Franks said in a statement.

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$200M adviser moves to Merrill Lynch

An international adviser who managed $200 million in client assets joined Merrill Lynch, the firm said.

Juliano de Souza previously worked at Brazilian wealth management firm BTG Pactual, where he had been since 2011, according to FINRA BrokerCheck records.

De Souza is focused on serving the Brazilian market and will collaborate with fellow Merrill Lynch wealth managers Andre Mendes and Pedro Paulo Silva, according to the company. De Souza will work out of Merrill's Miami office, which is overseen by market executive Andres de Corral, according to the firm.

Among Merrill Lynch's other hires, the company picked up an adviser twice featured on On Wall Street's Top 40 Under 40 ranking.

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Raymond James woos $220M Merrill team

A Merrill Lynch team with $220 million in client assets jumped to Raymond James’ employee channel, according to a spokeswoman.

David Lum and Michael Piazza of Lum Wealth Management joined the regional broker-dealer in Stuart, Florida, Raymond James announced. The team has annual revenues of over $1.7 million, according to the company's statement.

The pair’s move means at least five Merrill advisers have left for Raymond James in the first three months of 2017. Lum, a 17-year Merrill veteran, cites Raymond James’ support for its advisers.

He spoke for an hour with chairman emeritus Tom James on a tour of the firm’s St. Petersburg headquarters, he says, noting he never visited Merrill’s main office during his entire tenure.

“Here I was, one of their best producers,” says Lum, 58. “The thought of inviting their advisers to the headquarters really was never a twinkle in their eyes.”

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Benjamin Edwards opens new offices, grabs $188M wirehouse advisers

Benjamin F. Edwards opened two new offices staffed by three ex-Wells Fargo brokers who oversaw $188 million in client assets, according to a spokeswoman.

Richard Cisar and Andrew Kjolsrud joined Benjamin Edwards at the new Sierra Vista, Arizona, branch.

Cisar will serve as branch manager, according to the regional firm. He is an industry veteran, having started his career at Morgan Stanley in 1990, according to FINRA BrokerCheck records. He moved to A.G. Edwards in 2002.

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$138M adviser returns to Raymond James after 7-year stint at Wells Fargo

Two advisers managing $138 million in client assets left Wells Fargo to join Raymond James’ employee channel, according to their new firm.

Sam Kim and Scott Mann of Kim Wealth Management jumped to the regional broker-dealer in a suburb of Washington, D.C., Raymond James announced. The pair, who generated $1 million in annual production, mark the firm’s second Wells Fargo grab of the year so far.

Raymond James has added at least 19 ex-wirehouse advisers among its various channels in the first three months of the year. Kim and Mann report to Chesapeake complex manager Warren Wright in the firm's Ashburn, Virginia, office.

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$350M wirehouse team opens new Raymond James office

Technology was a key factor behind the departure of a $350 million team at Merrill Lynch for Raymond James.

The group opened a new office for the regional firm's employee channel in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. They previously generated over $2 million in annual fees and commissions, according to Raymond James.

Team member Brian Pick said they made the move in part because of Raymond James' technology offerings.

"About three years ago we started to look for a firm where we would be allowed to manage our client relationships, manage our clients' portfolios and prepare financial plans that were in our clients' best interests," Pick said in a statement.

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Merrill breakaway launches RIA with an eye on cross-border wealth

An ex-Merrill Lynch adviser opened a new RIA under Dynasty Financial Partners in the fifth new firm launched through Dynasty’s outsourcing platform this year.

Xerxes Mullan, a former Merrill private banking investment group broker, launched Avestar Capital in New York alongside five other ex-Merrill staffers. Dynasty now has 42 RIAs on its network, compared to 20 firms on that of rival HighTower.

The large group of breakaway RIAs that “had done it successfully” with Dynasty prompted Mullan to choose the firm, he says. His company will focus, in part, on cross-border wealth planning, particularly clients with inheritances or investments in both the U.S. and India.

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Ameriprise picks up more defectors from rivals

Ameriprise capped a busy first quarter for recruiting, adding two teams with $463 million in combined assets under management.

John Brewster and his son jumped from UBS to a suburban New York City branch, while the six advisers of FMB Advisors in Atlanta joined the company from Next Financial Group, a Houston-based IBD. FMB went to Ameriprise's franchise channel, while the Brewsters moved to the employee channel.

After a year that saw Ameriprise’s adviser headcount contract by 1.1% to 9,675, the firm has added at least 27 advisers in the first quarter of 2017.

For Larry Minogue and Arthur Farr, the partners who launched FMB, the decision stemmed from the growing number of M&A deals in the advisory space, Farr says.

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Stifel nets $125M team in latest recruiting sweep

Stifel recruited a team overseeing $125 million in client assets from Baird, according to a spokesman.

Jon Garberg and Rebecca Hellman joined Stifel's Seattle office.

John Pierce, director of recruiting for Stifel, said in a statement that the firm has been pushing to expand its footprint on the West Coast, citing the efforts of Western Region Director John Lee.

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$160M adviser leaves Wells Fargo for Steward Partners

An adviser overseeing $160 million in assets is the latest to join Steward Partners, a fast-growing independent firm affiliated with Raymond James.

William Blake joined the firm from Wells Fargo in Washington. Blake, an industry veteran of three decades, says he made the move partly because the greater freedom to serve clients in new ways as well as the possibility to become an equity partner in the firm. That was particularly appealing, he says.

"The fact that everyone at the firm is a partner means that at the end of the day we're all working toward the same goal, which is serving the clients," Blake says.

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$112M wirehouse duo goes indie with Raymond James

Two Morgan Stanley advisers managing $112 million in client assets went independent with Raymond James, the firm said.

Ashley Banks and Donna Carroll opened their independent practice in Gainesville, Florida.

Banks, who previously served as a branch manager at Morgan, said they went independent in part because of Raymond James' network for women advisers as well as the company's capabilities.

Both advisers are certified divorce financial analysts, according to Raymond James.

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Steward Partners' recruiting streak continues with $100M hire

An adviser who oversaw $100 million in client assets moved to Steward Partners, an independent firm affiliated with Raymond James, according to the company.

Michael Germano joined Steward Partners' New York office. He previously worked at Citigroup Personal Wealth Management, and cites Steward Partners and Raymond James' culture and technology as reasons for his move.

"I was at Citi for nearly 12 years. Solid people. But I was at a stage of my career where I was looking to be more empowered and to give my clients more flexibility," Germano tells On Wall Street.

Germano is among the latest new recruits at Steward Partners. The independent firm says it has added advisers overseeing more than $1 billion so far this year.

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UBS grabs $125M Merrill team

UBS recruited a Merrill Lynch adviser who spent more than eight years with the firm and oversaw $125 million in client assets.

Michael Chabalik joined UBS in a Rochester, New York, branch on Feb. 24, according to FINRA BrokerCheck records. His team, which includes wealth strategy associate Patrick Kelly and client service associate Melody Wilkinson, generated $1.2 million in revenue last year, according to Chabalik.

Chabalik started his career in the industry with Waddell & Reed in Overland Park, Kansas, in 2003. He joined Brighton Securities in Rochester in late 2004, moving over to a Merrill Lynch office in the Rochester suburb of Pittsford in June 2008.

Ex-UBS advisers go indie with Raymond James

Three UBS advisers broke away from the firm to launch an RIA with help from Raymond James’ independent advisers division.

Jeremy Wallace, Andrew Hart and Jessica Bedell of Wallace Hart Capital Management selected Raymond James for custody and clearing of their new Lexington, Kentucky, firm. The trio managed more than $113 million in client assets at UBS, according to Raymond James.

Wallace and Bedell had joined UBS in 2008, with Bedell starting her career there and Wallace moving over after seven years at Merrill Lynch. Hart went to UBS in 2012 following stints with the World Bank Credit Union and Headley Investment Analysis.

They chose Raymond James “because of their strength, stability and reputation as one of the most highly regarded investment firms in the industry,” Wallace said in a statement.

“We wanted to become true fiduciaries – and we felt we could grow and market ourselves better as independents,” he said.

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Wells Fargo’s Abbot Downing adds American Girl historian

Abbot Downing, a Wells Fargo arm serving ultrahigh-net-worth clients, recruited an author who had led the history research team at American Girl brands.

Mark Speltz, who oversaw accuracy and authenticity in the Mattel subsidiary’s books, products, movies and marketing, joined Abbot Downing as a senior historian. He will work alongside 13 other education consultants at Wells Fargo’s family and business history center in San Francisco.

The team provides clients with research into archives and other sources to analyze the geographic, cultural and economic forces that shaped their family’s wealth. Abbot Downing then helps the clients prepare to transfer the wealth to the next generation by teaching the youngsters financial strategy.

Speltz has worked as a historian for more than 20 years. Part of his work has included profiles of family businesses and local industry in Wisconsin, and he released a book in November called “North of Dixie: Civil Rights Photography Beyond the South.”

RBC names former U.S. Bank executive head of wealth planning

RBC hired a 22-year industry veteran to a newly created role overseeing planning at the U.S. division of the firm’s wealth management arm.

Angie O’Leary had served as head of investment solutions for U.S. Bank’s wealth management unit before coming aboard at RBC, according to her new firm. She spent eight years at U.S. Bank following tenures with UBS and Piper Jaffray, according to FINRA BrokerCheck records.

At RBC, she reports to Ann Senne, the head of the company’s new advice and solutions group. O’Leary’s team will help ensure RBC’s U.S. clients receive tailored investment guidance.

“While we’ve historically had many areas working on wealth planning, Angie will lead a team solely focused on goals-based advice ― namely deriving new insights and increasing our effectiveness so that we can deliver more customized solutions to our clients,” Senne said in a statement.