Merrill Deploys Complex Heads in New York and Florida to New Roles
Merrill Lynch is shifting a pair of complex managers into new roles overseeing key parts of its training program and its new “community market” initiative.
Jennifer MacPhee, who oversaw about 240 brokers as head of the Albany/Hudson Valley market, will become “performance executive” for Merrill’s National Financial Advisor Development Program, according to a memo Merrill Wealth President Andy Sieg sent to employees on Monday. She will be responsible for improving graduation rates and overall performance of neophyte advisors in the three-and-a-half-year program.
Tony Kurlas, head of the Jacksonville, Florida, complex of about 150 brokers in nine branches, is shifting to become “strategy executive” in charge of “driving performance” in the Community Markets business that services small branches remote from Bank of America branches, Sieg wrote.
Both MacPhee and Kurlas will retain their roles as “market presidents” for Bank of America in their regions, coordinating local banking and investment budgets and strategies, but will step down from their complex management roles.
Merrill has not named replacements for them as of yet in the complex position.
In assigning double duty to veteran managers and leaving holes in key branch management positions, Merrill is continuing a trend that has affected several of its competitors and that may be emblematic of parent bank company’s tight budgeting processes and a paucity of administrative talent.
In addition to the vacancies opening in Albany and Jacksonville, Merrill has open complex or senior regional management positions in San Diego, Seattle, Dallas, and Los Angeles. Morgan Stanley this year has similarly been transferring branch and complex managers nationally to fill strategic holes, but has several seats unfilled.
Sieg, who sources said was in Hawaii for a recognition club meeting for the firm’s top producers, was not available to comment on the leadership moves, the spokesman said.
In their new positions, Kurlas and MacPhee will report to senior managers who themselves have had extra duties layered onto their responsibilities.
Kurlas’s boss is Eric Schimpf, who added oversight of the approximately 100 community market branches in February to his continuing responsibility as Southeast Division head of 18 Merrill Lynch Wealth markets. Schimpf was picking up the reins from Benjamin Prince, Merrill’s first community markets head who left Merrill in December. (Jason Rich, a veteran recruiter who most recently focused on the community unit, left Merrill last month to join Rockefeller Capital Management’s family office.)
MacPhee’s new boss in her training role is Kirstin Hill, a top Sieg strategist who took on the additional responsibilities earlier this year.
When Sieg deployed Schimpf and Hill to the supplementary roles in February, he wrote that they would be appointing operational leaders to carry out their strategies. Several advisors expected that new managers would be brought in for the roles.
“[T]hese new positions will help Merrill accelerate growth, modernize our development programs, and position us for long-term success,” Sieg wrote in Monday’s memo about McPhee and Kurlas.
MacPhee began her brokerage career 17 years ago at discount broker Quick&Reilly, which was bought by Bank of America in 2004.
Kurlas has spent all but one of his 25-year brokerage career with Merrill, which he joined in 1995 after a rookie year with Fidelity Brokerage Services, according to his BrokerCheck history.