Merrill, Wells Fill Management Gaps in New York, Missouri and Texas
Wirehouses relieved some of their ongoing middle-management challenges in recent days, with Merrill Lynch filling two vacant complex manager roles and Wells Fargo Advisors naming a new head of its Austin market.David Cornell confirmed that he will head Merrill Wealth’s New York Capital market, which includes eight offices with around 240 advisors in Saratoga Springs, Albany, Clifton Park, Poughkeepsie, Kingston, Middletown, Syracuse, and Latham.
He replaces Jennifer MacPhee, who remains president of the Bank of America market, but who shifted her Merrill responsibilities in April to a senior role in the company’s Financial Advisor Development training program. Merrill is trying to reinvigorate that program as it continues its more than year-long freeze on hiring experienced advisors.
Cornell, who like MacPhee has spent most of his career with Merrill and predecessor firms Banc of America Investment Services and Quick & Reilly, said he will relinquish his role as producing manager and resident director of the Saratoga Springs office that he has held since 2013. He would not elaborate on the size of his practice.
A 2017 graduate of Merrill’s “Market Executive Leadership Academy,” he started his career at Pruco Securities in 1999 and also worked at Charter One Securities before shifting to the Quick & Reilly discount brokerage firm in 2003.
Merrill made a more extensive mileage move with another manager, shifting Michael Mercer from Charlotte, N.C., in July to head the firm’s St. Louis wealth offices, a spokeswoman confirmed. Mercer, who has been a registered representative for four years, had been an associate complex manager in Charlotte.
He replaces Michael Lawrence, who was transferred in May to oversee advisors in its Twin Cities market in Minnesota.
Mercer has 19 years of banking experience, starting at BB&T Corp. as a small business banker, becoming a bank-branch advisor with Wachovia in 2004 and moving in 2011 to SunTrust Bank to oversee about 1,700 retail bank branches, according to his LinkedIn profile. He left a little over a year later to join Bank of America as a consumer bank manager before joining the Merrill complex in 2018.
Merrill earlier this year reached into his advisor-centric management ranks to fill crucial gaps, moving 23-year firm veteran Carole Wentz to oversee its Texas Mountain South division, and transferring 25-year Thundering Herder Joseph Holsinger to fill her former role as Orange County (Calif.) complex head.
Wells Fargo Advisors made a similar California-to-Texas management shift last week, moving Scott Drysch to head its Austin, Tex. market of private client and bank branch-based brokers. The 32-year brokerage industry veteran has run Wells’ Sierra Valley California Market for the past 12 years.
Drysch, who worked at Smith Barney for 11 years before joining Wells in 2006, declined to comment on the size of the Austin market and on his successor in the Sacramento/Northern Nevada area he had run. A Wells spokeswoman said that the Sacramento market role has not yet been filled.
Drysch began his securities industry career in 1987 with American Funds Distributors, according to his BrokerCheck history.