Merrill’s “Flagship” NYC Branch Loses Two Teams on Inauguration Day
Call it the Inaugural Itch.
As Donald Trump was being sworn in as the 45th President of the U.S. on Friday, eight brokers from two teams at Merrill Lynch’s downtown Manhattan “Flagship Complex” gave notice and were busily dialing former clients from their new employers’ offices.
Consilium Associates, six advisors and eight associates whose senior brokers Larry Rothenberg and Shaun Van Vliet had been with Merrill since 1996, shifted to a New York office of San Francisco-bank First Republic Bank, Rothenberg confirmed. He declined to elaborate on the reasons for the move or discuss his LinkedIn page posting that the group managed about $1.3 billion for Merrill clients.
The Consilium team produced around $11 million, according to a source at the complex, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Two brokers on another multi-million dollar production team at the Merrill branch—senior broker Ira M. Friedman and Andrew Sallis, along with sales associate Andrea Acosta—jumped to Morgan Stanley’s 1290 Avenue of the Americas branch in Manhattan on Friday, while a third partner stayed behind.
Sallis confirmed the move but declined to elaborate. The Friedman team, which branded itself IMFS Wealth Management Group, produced $1.3 million in the previous 12 months and managed about $360 million of assets for Merrill clients, according to Morgan Stanley.
Michael Mattiello, the team member still with Merrill, said he was busy talking with clients and declined further comment.
Friedman, who had been with Merrill for his entire 14-year brokerage career, specialized in managed accounts and did a big business with clients who reside outside the U.S., according to his team’s Merrill website. Although he had qualified internally to continue working with out-of-country clients as an International Financial Advisor, he was frustrated by the growing restrictions that Merrill has imposed on foreign business, said a person familiar with his practice who was not authorized to speak to the press.
Dozens of brokers with concentrated foreign practices have left Merrill for competitors such as Morgan Stanley and for boutique firms as a result of the new policies that Merrill has attributed to regulatory, legal and economic reasons.
A Merrill spokeswoman did not respond to requests for comment on the departures or the size of the team’s books and production.
First Republic assault
Consilium Associates changed its name from the RVH Group after Rothenberg and Van Vliet split from their former partner Daniel Humbert a few years ago over whether to leave Merrill, said a source in the office who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Neither Humbert nor Paul Sullivan, head of the complex that Merrill calls its SD Financial Center, returned calls for comment about the departures or any recent additions. The center’s website says its two branches include 150 brokers but lists by name only 84 (excluding the brokers who left on Friday).
Consilium’s jump to First Republic is the second in two weeks by Merrill brokers, and continues the San Francisco-based bank’s aggressive assault on its former parent. First Republic was owned by Merrill from 2007 until 2009, then sold by Merrill parent Bank of America. The banking giant said the business was redundant given its own private bank operations.
First Republic spokesman Greg Berardi did not respond to a call for comment.
—David Peterson contributed to this story.