Merrill Lifer Managing $250 Million Signs Up with RBC
A New Jersey broker who had spent his 24-year career with Merrill Lynch shifted last week to RBC Wealth Management, expressing irritation with the firm’s Bank of America parentage.David Hollenberg and two client associates joined the Florham Park, N.J., branch of Royal Bank of Canada’s U.S. broker-dealer, RBC said on Tuesday. He had been managing $250 million of client assets at Merrill’s nearby branch in Wayne, according to RBC.
“I didn’t leave Merrill Lynch,” Hollenberg said. “I left Bank of America.”
He declined to elaborate, but Merrill renegades often cite pressure to cross-sell bank products, cede less affluent customers to Merrill Edge and other constraints that contrast with the broker-centric culture that they say characterized the firm prior to the 2009 Bank of America merger.
The bank this year imprinted itself more firmly on its wealth management businesses by re-christening its U.S. Trust private banking unit and relegating the Merrill name to sub-brand status.
Critiques of the changing culture are usually may privately, but one advisor who joined Stifel Nicolaus earlier this year summarized the changing culture succinctly. “I’m a financial advisor,” he said. “I don’t want to hand out toasters.”
A Merrill spokeswoman did not immediately return a request for comment on Hollenberg’s remarks, and the firm previously declined to comment on the sentiments about the bank.
Two weeks ago another New Jersey team whose principal advisors had each been with Merrill for over three decades joined UBS Financial Services in Red Bank.
RBC Wealth Management-U.S. employs around 1,800 brokers in 200 offices in the U.S. Merrill as of the end of March had 14,761 advisors.