Career Merrill Manager at PBIG Leaves
Joseph Polakoff, a senior manager at Merrill Lynch’s ultra-high net worth business, has left the firm where he had spent his entire securities industry career.
Polakoff, who sources said left in the last few weeks, could not be reached at a publicly listed number in Chicago where he was based. A Merrill spokeswoman confirmed his departure but declined further comment.
The sales executive started at Merrill in 2001 as a “new accounts coordinator” in New York and did a stint as a “specialist banker” in Switzerland before joining the firm’s Private Banking and Investment Group in 2011. He was promoted to regional sales manager and director of PBIG in January 2017, according to his LinkedIn profile.
His role included overseeing accreditation and training, according to a source at the firm.
His departure follows a reorganization in March that expanded PBIG’s reach to international and “institutional” ultra-wealthy customers and shuffled some leadership roles.
PBIG, whose approximately 350 advisors generally work with households who have a minimum of $2.5 million of investable assets, continues to be run by Donald Plaus. He took the reins almost a year ago as part of a broad reorganization by Merrill’s then freshly appointed wealth management head, Andy Sieg.
PBIG, like other parts of the Thundering Herd empire, remains a member of the Broker Protocol, making it vulnerable to brokers leaving because the pact allows them to move with limited customer contact information without fear of being sued. Rivals Morgan Stanley and UBS Wealth Management Americas left the Protocol late last year.
A 15-person PBIG team in New York that managed $4.1 billion of customer money left two weeks ago to start their own registered investment advisory firm. Another broker on a large Boston team that was managing $4.5 billion, left in April to join First Republic Bank.
PBIG remains “strong and growing,” a spokeswoman told AdvisorHub last week. New households have grown by more than 40% over the past 12 months and money inflows are more than 1.5 times greater.