Merrill Teams, Including One Led by 50-Year Vet, Change Jerseys
After 50 years with Merrill Lynch, a million-dollar producer in Providence, Rhode Island, has joined Ameriprise Financial’s employee channel.
Two weeks ago, Merrill also bid farewell to a $1-million producer in Alabama who became an independent broker with Wells Fargo’s Financial Network (FiNet) and a $500,000 broker in California who joined Wells Fargo Advisors’ employee channel
Simone, who began his brokerage career with Merrill in 1969, said the Bank of America firm’s growing push to have brokers cross-sell bank products and stream clients to managed accounts stimulated his move.
“They have changed the philosophy of how to do business,” he said of his Thundering Herd career, which was interrupted for a year in 1977 when he shifted to White, Weld. (Merrill welcomed him back when it purchased White, Weld in 1978.) “Selling bank products is not within my purview.”
The broker, who said he is in his 70s, also wanted more flexibility in handing his practice to his son, E. Justin Simone, who has been his junior partner since 2015. Justin can transition easily to Ameriprise’s independent “franchise” channel where he can get a higher payout (in return for picking up more operating expenses) if he desires, his father said.
Simone did not discuss whether he would have qualified for the enhanced retirement program that Merrill plans to offer “recognition-club-level” brokers late next year, nor on the deal Ameriprise gave him. The Minneapolis-based firm has upped recruiting packages to lure experienced brokers, and last month closed deals with recruits from Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley and UBS who were managing between $137 million and $150 million in client assets.
In Montgomery, Ala., Merrill lifer Holley Pierce on February 28 started an independent practice affiliated with Wells’ FiNet.
Pierce, who ranked #43 among Forbes’ Best-In-Alabama Wealth Advisors this year, generated about $1.2 million in fees on about $110 million in client assets at Merrill in the previous 12 months, a Wells spokeswoman said. Two client associates joined Pierce in the move.
Pierce, who moved with two client associates, began her career 12 years ago at Merrill. She declined to comment on her decision to go independent.
Upfront loans and other recruiting deals that Wells has been offering to replace more than 1,000 brokers who left in the aftermath of its consumer banking scandals are among the industry’s highest, recruiters said. (Wells also has been paying headhunters higher fees than most rivals.)
The deal appealed to Royston Hung, a San Jose, Calif.-based broker who began his brokerage career eight years ago with Merrill. They offered “strong transition support,” said Hung, who joined a Wells Fargo Advisors employee branch in Palo Alto on February 28.
Hung generated more than $500,000 in trailing-12 production on $62 million of client assets in the past 12 months, the Wells spokeswoman said.
A spokeswoman at Merrill declined to comment on the moves.
Wells Fargo earlier this week also hired Vincent Harambasic, who left a J.P. Morgan Chase private wealth branch in Wheaton, Ill. after less than two years. Harambasic, who began his career in 2005 at Citicorp Investment Services and worked for ten-and-a-half years at Fidelity Brokerage Services in Chicago, did not return a call for comment. The Wells spokeswoman said she did not have details on his production metrics.