Merrill Manager Exiled After 31 Years Returns as Producer
In a perhaps hopeful sign for wirehouse managers coping with rapidly changing dictates of the job, a longtime former Merrill Lynch branch and complex manager has returned to the firm to build her own book as a financial advisor.
Reached at her new Merrill branch in Pittsburgh on Monday morning, Susan S. Cruz confirmed that she rejoined her employer of more than 33 years two weeks ago after a short stint as a regional investment manager at Fifth Third Bancorp’s private bank in Cincinnati.
“I made a decision to become a financial advisor again,” she said. “It is a better fit for my life at this point…and if you’re going to do that anywhere, it would be here.”
A Merrill spokeswoman did not immediately return a request for comment on the circumstances of Cruz’s return.
Recruiters and internal managers have said that a growing number of managers are exploring returning to production at big firms or independents as their jobs have been redefined by cost-cutting, new compensation metrics less focused on hiring experienced advisors and increased regulatory scrutiny of their supervision.
John “Jeb” Bundock, a longtime manager at RBC Wealth Management-US in Houston, last summer returned to production, despite not having managed a book for years, because of the “regulatory climate,” he said.
Cruz acknowledged that she has not worked directly with clients for “many years.” She has been a branch and complex manager since at least 1998 (as a resident manager that year in Lexington, Ky.),working up and down the East Coast and in Pittsburgh and Indiana for Merrill, according to her LinkedIn profile.
Prior to leaving the wirehouse in late 2016 in the runup to a reorganization,she oversaw its five-office New Haven complex that produced $88 million in revenue, her LinkedIn profile says. She worked at Fifth Third from November 2016 to mid-February of this year, according to BrokerCheck.