Slideshow Mega recruits: Biggest adviser moves so far this year

Published
  • July 17 2017, 12:23pm EDT

Mega recruits: Biggest adviser moves so far this year

Elite advisers are flocking to independent, boutique and regional firms. Seven of the 12 biggest recruiting moves so far this year have been wirehouse teams leaving to gain what they deem to be greater independence, according to hiring announcements. It's no small loss. These teams oversaw more than $14 billion in institutional and private client assets.

Meanwhile, despite previously announced recruiting cutbacks, Merrill Lynch has grabbed several mega teams that oversaw more than $5 billion in client assets.

"No matter how much a company says they are retrenching, they will hire a team that looks like this," recruiter Mindy Diamond said about Merrill Lynch’s $3.3 billion grab from UBS.

Scroll through to see these and the other largest recruits from the year so far.

$1B Merrill private banking team goes indie with Dynasty

A Merrill Lynch team from the firm’s elite ultrahigh-net-worth unit has bolted to launch its own firm on the Dynasty Financial Partners platform.

Matthew Celenza, two other longtime team members with Merrill’s Private Banking and Investment Group, and a fourth colleague have opened Boulevard Family Wealth in Beverly Hills, California, their new partner announced. The team had managed $1 billion in client assets at Merrill, according to Dynasty.

To read more, click here.

Content Continues Below


UBS loses $1B team to breakaway startup

A new firm specializing in wirehouse breakaways made a billion dollar splash with its first hires.

FallLine Securities helped ex-UBS advisers Douglas John and Bryn Basiardanes-Talkington set up an independent practice in Dallas. John previously advised on $1 billion of client assets, according to a spokesman. Talkington served as a regional director at UBS Asset Management.

FallLine is the latest firm to service wirehouse breakaways, joining the ranks of Dynasty, HighTower and Focus Financial among others. The Darien, Connecticut-based firm is attempting to differentiate itself in a crowded marketplace by focusing exclusively on advisers serving the superrich.

To read more, click here.

Merrill Lynch nabs $1B team from UBS

Despite a planned recruiting slowdown, Merrill Lynch continues to land new teams.

The firm's newest hires, who oversaw $1 billion team in client assets, come from rival UBS and follow on the heels of an equally large hire.

Advisers Joseph Gabriele and Paul Vasady-Kovacs joined Merrill Lynch’s Rockfeller Center office in New York, the firm said. While at UBS, they generated $7 million in annual revenue, according to Merrill.

Gabriele, who was also once the CEO of investment firm Gabriele, Hueglin & Cashman, has been working in the finance industry for more than 45 years. For the last 10 years, he has been working at UBS. More than once he was named a top adviser by Barron’s and The Financial Times, a spokeswoman said.

To read more, click here.

Mega adviser exits Goldman to form RIA

An adviser who oversaw $1 billion at Goldman Sachs left the bank to launch his own RIA with backing from Dynasty Financial Partners.

The latest breakaway the firm assisted is David Darby, a 21-year veteran of Goldman Sachs. He is making the move to independence with Melissa Gray, director of client services, who also previously worked at the bank. The team operates as DG Wealth Partners from an office in Palm Beach, Florida.

Darby said he made the move in part to "have unfettered access to investment opportunities, client servicing technologies and wealth management resources." The partnership with Dynasty will enable them to serve as an outsourced family office for their wealthy clients, he said in a statement.

To read more, click here.

Content Continues Below


Merrill Lynch recruits $1B adviser

Merrill Lynch recruited an adviser who previously oversaw $1 billion in client assets, a spokeswoman said.

Fernando Nicolau, who was previously with JP Morgan Private Bank, now operates from a Merrill Lynch office in Miami. Nicolau will work with Merrill Lynch advisers Andre Mendes and Pedro Paulo Silva. They form the firm's largest Brazil team serving wealthy Latin American clients.

"His years of experience working in the Latin American market make him the right fit for our Brazil client segment," Andres de Corral, market executive, said in a statement.

To read more, click here.

$1B team quits Morgan Stanley for J.P. Morgan Securities

J.P. Morgan Securities netted its first big recruiting grab under its new leader: a $1 billion team from Morgan Stanley, a spokeswoman for the bank acknowledged.

The new hires came a month after the elite brokerage unit, which serves ultrawealthy clients, tapped Chris Harvey to serve as CEO, replacing Greg Quental who retired.

The team consists of brothers Jay and Neil Canell as well as Justin Dembo. They group joined J.P. Morgan Securities' office in New York. They report to Mike Lee, regional director.

To read more, click here.

HighTower recruits a second $1B wirehouse team

Two advisers have left Wells Fargo and Morgan Stanley to form an independent practice with HighTower, a spokeswoman said.

CEO Joel Talish, who left Wells Fargo, and managing director John Buffa, who departed from Morgan Stanley, previously oversaw $1 billion in client assets, per the spokeswoman. The firm's newest hires operate as Cognetic Capital Advisors in HighTower's New York office.

To read more, click here.

Content Continues Below


HighTower opens new year with a bang, grabs $1B Wells Fargo team

A $1 billion team has left Wells Fargo to go independent with HighTower, which is coming off a robust recruiting year, having picked up a combination of 14 teams and tuck-ins in 2016, according to the firm.

The firm's newest recruits formed Fortress Wealth Planning in Jacksonville, Florida. The team is comprised of founding partners Jay Rolfe, Eileen Ortega, Jim Williams and Michael Skowfoe. HighTower says those 2016 recruits represented about $4 billion in AUM.

To read more, click here.

Wells Fargo loses $1.5B team to Jefferies

Jefferies' wealth management unit lured away a Wells Fargo team that oversaw $1.5 billion in assets, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The Miami-based group, which specializes in serving high net-worth and ultrawealthy clients from Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay, generated $7.3 million in annual revenue, the person says.

Jefferies’ new recruits include Marcelo Poliak, Pablo Gherardi, Guillermo Guerra and Nicholas Coubrough. Poliak, Gherardi and Guerra had been with Wells Fargo for more than a decade, according to FINRA BrokerCheck records. Coubrough joined the wirehouse from Merrill Lynch in 2015.

To read more, click here.

Merrill Lynch lands $3.3B team, not slowing down―yet

A $3.3 billion group left UBS to join Merrill Lynch's Chicago office.

Merrill's new team includes F. Michael Covey, Tom Kane and Mark Wiktor, who have been working together for more than a decade. They moved their practice from Lehman Brothers to UBS in 2007. Wiktor, who is the most experienced, worked at Lehman for 23 years, according to FINRA BrokerCheck records. Covey and Kane have 17 and 13 years of experience, respectively.

To read more, click here.

Content Continues Below


Raymond James nabs $3.5B UBS team

Raymond James landed another mega wirehouse team ― this time a UBS group that oversaw $3.5 billion in institutional and retail assets.

The firm's new 10-person team deals, in part, with institutional investments, helping to prop up the team’s overall assets under management, according to a company spokesperson. About a third of the assets the advisers oversaw were retail, and approximately two-thirds were institutional.

The new hires also further the company’s push into the Western U.S. and becomes the second financial planning group to join the Honolulu office of Raymond James' employee channel.

Led by managing director Ronald Kikawa, the group generated more than $5 million in annual fees and commissions while at UBS, according to Raymond James.

To read more, click here.

$8B wirehouse team goes indie

Dynasty Financial Partners has added another breakaway firm to its expanding roster, but this transition is coming with some extra baggage.

Procyon Partners, formerly a team known as the FDG Group while at UBS, launched in June and will operate under two separate RIAs — one for its institutional investment consulting practice and the other for its personal wealth management group.

At UBS the Procyon team managed over $8 billion in institutional assets and over $400 million in private wealth assets, generating approximately $6 million in annual revenue.

UBS filed a lawsuit for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction against the Shelton, Connecticut-based firm. The lawsuit alleges that Procyon's founding partners violated the Protocol for Broker Recruiting by "aggressively soliciting" UBS clients to leave the firm and do business with Procyon.

To read more, click here.