Morgan Stanley and Merrill Shed Million-Dollar Brokers to RBC and Baird
Regional firms’ stepped-up recruiting of million-dollar brokers continued into the new year as Robert W. Baird landed a Morgan Stanley broker in Arizona and RBC Wealth Management hired a mother-daughter team from Merrill Lynch in the past week.
Victor LaRosa, an advisor in Peoria, Arizona, who had been with Morgan Stanley for a decade, joined Baird on Friday after more than a decade at Morgan Stanley. The advisor produced about $1 million of fees and commissions in the previous 12 months, according to a source familiar with his practice who spoke on condition of anonymity.
LaRosa, who began his career in 1986 at Merrill Lynch in 1986 and worked at Prudential (Wachovia) Securities, Piper Jaffray and UBS Financial Services before joining Morgan Stanley in 2008, confirmed his move. He declined to comment on his production or assets under management.
A spokeswoman at Milwaukee-based Baird, which has announced a deal to hire J.J.B. Hilliard, W.L. Lyons’ brokerage force, did not return a request for comment.
In Chevy Chase, Maryland, Susan and Taylor Stewart joined RBC Wealth. The mother and daughter had been managing around $150 million in client assets, the Minneapolis-based firm said.
“RBC Wealth Management is known for integrity, corporate responsibility and commitment to diversity, which is what we were looking for in a firm,” the Stewards said in a joint statement.
The Royal Bank of Canada’s U.S. wealth unit, which since mid-2016 has been led by former Morgan Stanley executive Michael Armstrong, has been aggressively pursuing brokers from rivals in recent years. (John Taft, Armstrong’s predecessor at RBC, joined Baird as a vice chairman last January.)
RBC currently employs around 1,800 brokers, while Baird has just under 900.
Susan Stewart began her brokerage career at Merrill Lynch in 1987, and after a brief stint at Lehman Brothers, worked as an RIA with Charter Financial Group in Bethesda, Maryland, from 2003 until she rejoined Merrill in 2011, according to her regulatory database history.
Taylor Stewart started her brokerage career at Merrill Lynch in 2015.
Merrill Lynch on Wednesday said that the attrition rate among its almost 14,800 brokers was at a near-record low 2.6% in 2018. Most of the departures came from its training program, executives said.
Morgan Stanley on Thursday reported a relatively flat headcount, ending 2018 with 15,694 “wealth representatives,” 18 fewer than at the end of 2017.