Merrill Michigan Team Producing $4 Mln Joins Raymond James
Raymond James Financial on Friday hired a four-advisor Merrill Lynch team in Auburn Hills, Michigan, who had been generating around $4 million in annual revenue at their former firm.
Gus C. Panos, the senior member of the team with 27 years of brokerage experience, said in a brief interview from his new office that his team at Merrill was managing about $419 million in client assets.
Panos, who joined Merrill almost 12 years ago in the wealthy Detroit suburb after six-and-a-half years with Morgan Stanley, declined to discuss the reason for his shift to Raymond James’ employee channel from the Bank of America brokerage unit.
His group includes advisors Jason L. Firek, John G. Gaynor, and Jennifer J. Pulcini. Firek similarly joined Merrill in 2007 from Morgan Stanley, while Gaynor had worked for her entire 16-year career as a registered rep Merrill, according to the BrokerCheck database. Pulcini began her career 19 months ago at Merrill, according to her BrokerCheck record.
The move intensifies a shift of veteran brokers out of Merrill Lynch, which curtailed veteran broker hiring in 2017, while underscoring Raymond James’ continuing push to expand beyond its home region.
Merrill’s brokerage count declined by a net 42 in the fourth quarter, and by 157 for all of 2018 to 14,796, the company reported.
St. Petersburg, Florida-based Raymond James in February hired a veteran Morgan Stanley manager in Boston to oversee its New England offices and last month hired a longtime Merrill complex manager in Washington State along with a 22-year Merrill broker in New Orleans.
Raymond James ended 2018 with 3,166 advisors in its employee channel, up 4% from 3,038 from the prior year. The company has been highlighting in recruiting pitches its dedication to advisor autonomy relative to the greater controls and sales direction that bank-owned companies have been imposing on their financial advisors, but has not raised signing bonuses to compete with other regional firms attempting to pick off wirehouse brokers.
Spokespeople for Merrill and Raymond James did not return requests for comment.
Panos began his brokerage career at Detroit’s Olde Discount Corp. in 1991, and also worked at A.G. Edwards and H&R Block before joining Morgan Stanley in 2000, according to his BrokerCheck record. He ranked 94th in Forbes’ most recent “Best in State” wealth advisor list in Michigan.
Firek, who began his career in 2002 at Morgan Stanley, ranked 64th in the Forbes poll.