Lifelong Merrill Advisor and Manager Leaves for Stifel
Stifel Financial has hired a producing manager whose 19-year brokerage career had been spent with Merrill Lynch in Ohio and Florida.
Ryan Schack, who had been at Merrill’s Jupiter, Florida, office for almost a decade, said he moved on Wednesday to oversee three Stifel Nicolaus offices in south Florida. He will work from the firm’s Palm Beach Gardens office and oversee around 18 brokers there and at branches in Palm Beach and Miami.
The advisor said he was generating around $700,000 in fees and commissions at Merrill, and is hoping to transition his client book of around $140 million in assets. He also hopes to double the St. Louis-based firm’s broker population in his complex over the next few years, noting that he is not subject to a non-compete clause.
Schack said his move reflected a desire for more freedom in managing client accounts than he was finding at Merrill as it imposes more of its parent Bank of America’s business culture on brokers’ practices. He also knew a pair of veteran Merrill managers who have recently joined Stifel, Jim Chahine and Robert Johnson. Chahine hired Schack in his initial job as a broker with Merrill in Ohio.
“The firm has changed so much over the last eight years and continues to change,” he said of Merrill. “It got to a point where we were managing to the numbers a little too much and it was all about checking accounts and savings accounts and credit cards and loans.”
Merrill Lynch earlier this week reported a strong first quarter, which it attributed to higher net interest income fueled by loans, mortgages and other bank products, along with lower expenses and household account growth on the part of advisors. But the company also has been confronting an accelerated exodus of field managers, leading to a doubling up of duties for some and several empty slots.
A Merrill spokeswoman did not immediately return a request for comment on Schack’s remarks or on whether it has named a manager for its Jupiter branch of around 40 advisors.
At Stifel, Schack is replacing Palm Beach Gardens manager Christopher Cerniglia, who is moving full-time into production, according to John Pierce, Stifel’s head of recruiting. He also is filling in for John Cregan, the Palm Beach and Miami manager, who is retiring. Cregan joined Stifel as part of its acquisition of Barclays Bank’s U.S. retail brokerage franchise in 2015.