$2-Million Merrill Producer in L.A. Moves Mid-Crisis to Rockefeller
Amid the coronavirus market tumult, a few brokers have mustered up and moved to new firms.
On Friday, Ameriprise broker and branch manager Joseph DeFalco left after more than 18 years to become the San Diego Pacific Coast market manager for Wells Fargo Advisors. His four-person team had produced about $950,000 on more than $100 million of client assets for Ameriprise in the previous 12 months, said another person familiar with his practice.
Neither of the advisors returned calls left at their new offices seeking comment on their decisions, and on the challenges of moving during an unprecedented health crisis that has sent markets into a tailspin.
Moves even in the best of times are anxiety-producing exercises as advisors try to persuade customers to follow them, calculate the duration of interruptions to their cash flow and contend with new operational protocols.
Perhaps the only advantage of a shift in the current crisis is that branch managers at former firms cannot muster the same client-retention focus as in normal times, said one recruiter who spoke on condition of anonymity. The disruptions in normal office routines, in fact, prompted at least one of the advisors to move a few days early, according to one source.
Horowitz, who moved with a client associate but without two junior advisors who remain at Merrill’s Century City East branch, is the fourth lead advisor to join Rockefeller’s Wilshire Boulevard branch in Los Angeles. The branch is managed by Nathan Crair, a longtime Merrill complex manager who joined New York-based Rockefeller last summer and who last month hired a $1.1-million Merrill producer.
Horowitz, a 24-year brokerage veteran, had been with Merrill for less than three years following five-and-a-half years with Morgan Stanley, according to his BrokerCheck history. He spent the bulk of his career as an independent broker, including 14 years in which he was affiliated with LPL Financial in Valencia, Calif., according to the database.
DeFalco, who had been managing Ameriprise Financial’s University Lane branch in San Diego, moved with fellow advisor Brett Atkinson and three support staff to Wells Advisors’ private client group office branch on High Bluff Drive in San Diego.
DeFalco began his brokerage career in 1999 at PaineWebber and did stints at now-defunct firms Providential Securities and J.B. Oxford & Co. before moving to Ameriprise in 2001, according to his BrokerCheck history.
Atkinson joined Ameriprise in 2006 after a seven-year sojourn at the start of his career with Crowell, Weedon & Co., according to BrokerCheck.
Wells Fargo, which has been recruiting aggressively to replace more than 1,000 advisors who left in the wake of the company’s account scandals, last week attracted seven advisors in addition to the DeFalco team who collectively produced $3.5 million in the previous year, a spokeswoman said.
One was Austin, Texas-based broker Ande Rasmussen, who had worked for all his 33-year brokerage career at Merrill Lynch, according to BrokerCheck. Rasmussen, who joined Wells Fargo last Thursday declined to comment on his move or his production metrics.