Slideshow Top 10 advisor moves of the year; 6 came from just one wirehouse

Published
  • July 19 2018, 1:22pm EDT

A drop off in wirehouse recruiting is being felt at the highest levels.

Of the largest advisor moves durign the first half of 2018, none went to a wirehouse. Most of these mega brokers ― who managed $18 billion in assets at their previous firms ― left to go independent or to join J.P. Morgan Securities.

Merrill Lynch was among the biggest losses. Six of the ten biggest moves came from Merrill's ranks, where they previously managed $13.2 billion in assets, according to hiring announcements and recruiting data analyzed by On Wall Street.

Others chose to go to J.P. Morgan Securities, a boutique firm that specializes in ultrahigh-net-worth clients, or regional broker-dealers RBC and Janney Montgomery Scott.

Why did they make the move? Some of the advisors cited changing corporate cultures and regulatory shifts. Others felt they were being asked to push products, rather than serve their clients’ best interest.

Departures could pick up later in the year, says recruiter Michael Terrana, who adds that more advisors tend to leave right after Labor Day.

Scroll through to read more about the top ten advisor moves of the year.

$800M Merrill Lynch team goes indie with Focus

Iain Whyte, Simon Holford and Bryan Muth left Merrill Lynch to set up an independent firm with the help of Focus Financial Partners. They managed $800 million at the wirehouse.

“Launching an independent firm has been on our mind for a while,” Iain Whyte, chairman of the newly created Pasadena Private Wealth, said in a statement.

The Pasadena, California-based team will focus on investment portfolios, real estate holdings and business ventures for high-net-worth families, business owners, and executives.

They made the move in May, according to FINRA BrokerCheck records.

Read more here.

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J.P. Morgan Securities lands $800M advisor from Merrill Lynch

Michael Taggart, who managed $800 million in client assets, left Merrill Lynch to join J.P. Morgan Securities, a spokeswoman confirmed.

Taggart joined the high-end wealth management firm in New York as a financial advisor and managing director, according to the company. He reports to Mike Lee, regional director.

"Being part of a boutique culture within a great global bank is also very attractive. This is an incredible opportunity to deliver the personalized service and tailored capabilities that the firm is known for," he said in a statement.

Taggart made his move in May, according to FINRA BrokerCheck records.

Read more here.

$900M advisor leaves Goldman Sachs for J.P. Morgan Securities

Sergio Akselrad moved to J.P. Morgan Securities from Goldman Sachs, where he managed $900 million in assets.

He joined the new Miami branch, which was J.P. Morgan Securities’s 20th branch to open, along with four other advisors from New York, according to the company.

Akselrad had been at Goldman Sachs for nearly 30 years, according to FINRA Brokercheck. He made the career change in June.

Read more here.


RBC nabs $900M Wells Fargo advisor

Jim Aid, who managed $900 million in client assets at Wells Fargo Advisors, joined RBC in early June.

Aid was the first hire of RBC’s new branch in Nashville, one of two branches the firm opened in a one-month period. Around 77% of his clients are institutional, according to Aid.

“I was really looking for a senior management and a leadership structure that allowed decisions to be made at local managerial levels and then also be able to have the authority to execute on those decisions,” said Aid.

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$925M Wells Fargo team departs for RBC

The Bivona Consulting Group moved to RBC from Wells Fargo Advisors, where they managed $925 in assets, according to their new employer.

The team is made up of Joseph Bivona, his son Thomas, and Robert R. Impelluso. Their branch at RBC is located in Glastonbury, Connecticut.

“After careful consideration, we decided to join RBC Wealth Management because of its reputation for integrity, corporate responsibility and overall fiscal stewardship,” advisors Joseph Bivona, his son Thomas Bivona and Robert Impelluso said in a statement.

The team switched firms in April, according to FINRA BrokerCheck records.

Read more here.

Billion-dollar Merrill Lynch team strikes out on their own

A Merrill Lynch team that managed over $1 billion in client assets quit to form an independent wealth management firm with the backing of Focus Financial Partners.

Financial advisors Kelly Bouchillon, his wife Melissa, Emerson Ham, Edward Ambrose and Lydia Moore started Sound View Wealth Advisors in Savannah, Georgia.

The team said they made the change to benefit their clients and support staff.

“Our support staff was miserable,” said Ham. “To open an account it would take weeks to get anything done. You would have to go through 50 steps.”

Ambrose said the move has been refreshing — no one is dictating what they offer to clients.

They opened Sound View in March.

Read more here.

Wells Fargo loses $1.2B to J.P. Morgan Securities

Jack Hafner, an advisor who was listed in Barron’s last year as managing $1.2 billion in client assets, left Wells Fargo for J.P. Morgan Securities in April.

Hafner, who has past work experience at Lehman Brothers and Barclays, had been with Credit Suisse for eight years, according to FINRA BrokerCheck records. The Swiss bank entered into an exclusive recruiting arrangement with Wells Fargo prior to exiting the U.S. wealth management market in 2016.

Hafner highlighted J.P. Morgan Securities' brand and intellectual capital as reasons he made the career switch.

"Over the past two decades in the industry, I have found that a boutique culture like that at JPMS is best for serving my clients. Many high caliber advisors have joined JPMS over the past 18 months, and I am excited to join the ranks," he said in a statement, referring to the firm's aggressive recruiting efforts.

Read more here.

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$2B Avondale team jumps to Janney

Glasgow Wealth Management Group, which managed $2 billion at Avondale Partners, joined Janney Montgomery Scott, the firm said.

The team ― comprised of Steven Glasgow, Stephen Evans, Jordan Sibler, Danielle Garofolo, and Frank Moore ― is based in Franklin, Tennessee.

The group works with retail and institutional investors, having advised on $1.8 billion in institutional assets and over $163 million in assets for retail clients, according to Janney.

“We decided to make the move to Janney because it proved to be the firm that aligned best with our needs, and the needs of our clients," Glasgow said in a statement.

The Glasgow team joined Janney in May.

Read more here.

J.P. Morgan Securities nabs duo that once oversaw $2B

J.P. Morgan Securities recruited Jason Gordon (above) and Thomas Scott Holstead, two Merrill Lynch advisors who were previously part of a team overseeing more than $2 billion in client assets.

The advisors were the first of J.P. Morgan’s hires in 2018.
Holstead ranked no. 55 on Barron's top advisors in Texas list in 2016, which pegged him approximately $1.9 billion in assets.

Gordon and Holstead switched firms in January, according to FINRA BrokerCheck records. They left behind two teammates: Phillip Leonard and his son Bryan.

Read more here.

$4.1B Merrill Lynch team opens RIA

Eric Bodner and Ben Sax, who managed $4.1 billion in assets at Merrill Lynch, left the wirehouse to go independent in June.

Both men are ranked in Barron’s top advisors in New York list for 2018. They left Merrill Lynch to open Kore Private Wealth, an RIA in New York.

Bodner and Sax declined to comment on their departure from Merrill Lynch.

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A $4.5B Merrill Lynch advisor leaves for First Republic

James Atwood, who ranked among the top 25 advisors in Barron’s top advisors list in 2018, left Merrill Lynch for First Republic in April.

Atwood had been at Merrill Lynch for 33 years, according to FINRA BrokerCheck.

He now directs the design and development of customized wealth strategies for ultrahigh-net-worth individuals and families at First Republic in Boston, according to his new employer.

He was unable to be reached for comment.

A spokesman for First Republic did not respond to a request to discuss Atwood's AUM.