First Republic Nabs California Merrill Team, Rockefeller Signs Wells Duo
First Republic Bank reached into Merrill Lynch’s Silicon Valley flagship branch on Friday, and Rockefeller Capital landed a San Francisco-based team from Wells Fargo Advisors, continuing the upstart wealth firms’ wirehouse talent raids.Mark D. Beach and Richard J. DuPont, who have a combined 44 years of brokerage industry experience and were overseeing $300 million in assets at Merrill’s Palo Alto branch, moved to First Republic with a client associate. The pair was generating $2.5 million in annual revenue, according to two sources familiar with the move.
Rockefeller recruited Abbas Khoshnevissan, a 34-year industry veteran, and Ulku Grosso from Wells Fargo Advisors. They are the second team recruited to Rockefeller’s new San Francisco office in two months. They were overseeing about $300 million of mostly advisory account assets at Wells, and also moved with an associate, two other sources said.
First Republic, the San Francisco-based bank that was briefly owned by Merrill Lynch, has been aggressively building its wealth management roster with big recruiting bonuses aimed largely at wirehouse advisors. Neither Beach nor DuPont could be reached for comment on their move.
First Republic in May recruited Arif Ahmed, a Washington, D.C.-based Merrill broker who has a big Silicon Valley client list. His team generated about $16 million in annual revenue on $4 billion in managed client assets.
The Beach-DuPont team puts some salve on First Republic’s loss earlier this month of the “Luminous Capital” group of former Merrill advisers who were overseeing about $16 billion of client assets and had seeded its fee-based wealth push. The team split into two RIA firms that First Republic executives said will attract about $14 billion of its assets.
Beach began his brokerage career in 1992 at Lehman Brothers, and has been with Merrill or its Banc of America Investment Services predecessor since 1999, according to his BrokerCheck history. DuPont similarly worked only at the two firms, beginning his career with Merrill in 2001, moving to Banc of America Investment Services in 2003 and shifting back to Merrill in 2009 after its purchase by Bank of America.
A spokeswoman for Merrill Lynch did not immediately return a request for comment.
Khoshnevissan began his brokerage career in 1984 with Bretcourt Securities, and did stints at Bear, Stearns and UBS for 16 years before joining Wells in 2008, according to his BrokerCheck history. Grosso first registered as a broker with Banc of America Investment Services in 2006 and sojourned for four years at Unionbanc Investment Services before joining Wells in 2014.
Rockefeller has hired hired eight multi-million-dollar-producer teams in Atlanta, New York, San Francisco and Dallas since last September.
The firm, which was recapitalized early last year and is led by former Merrill and Morgan Stanley executive Greg Fleming, has also been hiring experienced wirehouse managers. Its San Francisco office is led by Anthony Grosso, who left Merrill in January after 15 years and ran its ventures services team for private equity entrepreneurs.
Christopher Randazzo, president of Rockefeller’s private wealth management business, who also worked at Merrill and Morgan Stanley, said last week that the firm aims to employ 200 adviser teams overseeing $100 billion within five years.
Khoshnevissan and Grosso did not respond to requests for comment, and a Wells Fargo Advisors spokeswoman said she could not confirm their departures.