After 41 years with Merrill, $765M Broker Splits for First Republic
Although the markets were closed on Friday, veteran broker James B. Marchetti and his six-person team were hard at work in San Francisco trying to transition former Merrill Lynch clients and some $700 million of their assets to their new home at First Republic Bank.
Marchetti joined Merrill in 1975, a few months after graduating Stanford University, when Gerald Ford was in the White House. He remained with the Thundering Herd through six subsequent presidential administrations until a week ago.
“When someone leaves after 40 years, people notice,” said Anthony Canini, a former colleague in San Francisco who once employed Marchetti’s son on his team. Canini, who has been with Merrill for 14 years, declined further comment.
Marchetti’s team, which includes his senior partner Caleb Porter and his son, James L., ranked among Barron’s top brokers of 2015. The magazine listed them with $765 million in client assets.
Marchetti did not respond to a message seeking comment on why he left, and a Merrill Lynch spokeswoman could not be reached.
His move is the latest in what might be described as First Republic’s revenge against its former owners. Merrill paid top dollar to buy First Republic in 2007, right before the financial crisis, only to have the purchase unwound by Bank of America in 2010 after it acquired Merrill as a consequence of the crisis.
The Marchetti team was recruited by Brian Riley, a First Republic regional manager who had been head of Merrill’s “private banking and investment group” in the Pacific West, said a West Coast source who declined to be named. Riley, who joined First Republic in July had been with Merrill for almost 20 years.
Last fall, Riley recruited Dagny Maidman, whose team produced $7 million, from Credit Suisse, shortly before the Swiss bank announced it was closing its U.S. operations.
First Republic also has been turning heads by buying whole advisory firms at top dollar. It paid $115 million in June for Los Angeles-based Constellation partners, whose six partners oversaw about $6.5 billion. In another purchase closely watched by Merrill brokers, First Republic bought Luminous Capital in 2012 for $125 million. Luminous, which had $5.5 billion of client assets at the time, had been founded just four years earlier by former Merrill Lynch advisors.