Andy Sieg, Merrill’s New Leader, Riles Executive Ranks
(Corrects sixth paragraph to show that Riley Etheridge announced Phil Sieg’s retirement, not Andy Sieg.)
In his first shakeup since taking the reins of Merrill Lynch’s sprawling retail brokerage group in January, Andy Sieg has bid farewell to Riley Etheridge, a top lieutenant of his predecessor. Phil Sieg, Andy’s older brother who reported to Etheridge as head of “Ultra High Net Worth” client strategies, also has announced his retirement.
Etheridge, who has been with Merrill since 1984 and on the side performs as a folk-rock singer-songwriter, was appointed head of client solutions and segments in 2011, a crucial position that led to such determinations as shifting clients with accounts under $250,000 to call centers and Merrill’s discount brokerage unit. In 2014, he added broker training to his segmentation and product development mandate.
“Over a 33-year Merrill Lynch career, Riley has made enormous contributions to our clients, our advisors and our organization,” Sieg wrote in a memo to Merrill’s more than 14,600 brokers on Wednesday afternoon. “He has served as a client associate, financial advisor, director and regional manager in addition to his current role as head of Client Segments & Advisor Development. Riley has been central to the delivery of Merrill Lynch’s operating model and client-focused strategy.”
Etheridge, who will officially retire next month, was a protege of Sieg’s predecessor John Thiel, now a Merrill vice chairman. Thiel, who helped create Merrill’s Private Banking and Investment Group (PBIG) for high-net-worth clients, appointed Etheridge as the unit’s New York and MidAtlantic region executive before elevating him to the client strategy post in 2011.
A replacement for Etheridge, whose LinkedIn profile says he graduated from Louisiana State University in 1983, will be announced “in due course,” Sieg wrote in the memo.
Etheridge earlier this week announced that Phil Sieg will be leaving Merrill next month after almost 28 years. Aside from six years at Lehman Brothers from 1986 to 1992, Sieg has spent his entire career at Merrill, including a stint as head of its retirement product group.
Andy Sieg, who began his brokerage career at Merrill in 2001 and left for a four-year interlude at Smith Barney in 2005, did not completely erase the appearance of nepotism with this week’s announcements. His wife, Heliane Steden, continues to work as a broker from a midtown New York office managing over $3 billion of client assets, largely for wealthy Mexican families, according to her alumna biography on a University of Southern California website. Steden, a three-time All-American women’s tennis player, is on USC’s board of trustees.
-Grete Suarez contributed reporting.