Morgan Stanley Lures Merrill Brokers with $5.2 Million Production
Morgan Stanley’s stepped-up recruiting efforts continue to bear fruit as it has hired two Merrill Lynch teams managing more than $600 million combined in Georgia and New Jersey.
In Atlanta, Morgan Stanley hired the team of Gary C. Casey, William Slade and Samuel H. Wesselschmidt, who were generating $2.9 million in trailing-12 production and overseeing $330 million in client assets, according to a person familiar with their practice.
“The obvious technology upgrades that Morgan Stanley has invested in, along with a highly responsive local management team gave us the opportunity to easily make this decision to move despite the current environment,” Casey said in a prepared statement. The advisors did not return a request for additional comment.
Earlier this month, Morgan Stanley bolstered its local leadership in the Atlanta market, luring back a well-liked former Morgan Stanley and Smith Barney manager Christopher “Chip” Anderson from RBC Wealth Management-U.S. as the Buckhead sub-complex manager. It also shifted Walter W. Jameson, a 39-year industry veteran who had been running the wirehouse’s Atlanta “Perimeter” complex, to head its Buckhead complex in the wealthy Atlanta suburb.
The management shifts came after Morgan Stanley lost at least eight advisors producing more than $20 million from the Atlanta area this year to Rockefeller Capital Management, which is headed by former Morgan Stanley Wealth president Greg Fleming.
Casey, who has spent the past 12 years with the thundering herd, began his brokerage career with First Southeastern Company in 1983. He also worked at Dean Witter Reynolds, The Robinson Humphrey Company and spent six years at Morgan Stanley predecessor Smith Barney, according to BrokerCheck.
Slade and Wesselschmidt have spent their entire nine-year brokerage careers with Merrill Lynch, respectively, their BrokerCheck records show.
Also on Friday, Paul Conklin made a parallel shift to Morgan Stanley in Florham Park, New Jersey, along with two client associates. The broker had been generating $2.3 million in annual revenue on over $300 million in client assets at Merrill, according to the source.
Conklin, who ranked #52 on Forbes’ Best-In-New Jersey Wealth Advisors list this year, did not return a request for comment on his move, which is his second tour at the wirehouse.
The 36-year industry veteran had spent almost seven years with Morgan Stanley prior to joining Merrill Lynch in 2008. He started his career at Blinder, Robinson & Co. in 1984, but moved after less than a year to Thomson McKinnon Securities and also worked at Prudential Securities before moving to Morgan Stanley in 2001, according to his BrokerCheck history.
The Morgan Stanley spokeswoman confirmed the hire of Conklin, who reports to complex manager David Fritz. Fritz was named head of the firm’s three-office Florham Park, N.J. complex last year.
Conklin did not respond to a request for comment on his move.
Morgan Stanley has made Merrill a frequent target since stepping up its recruiting efforts this year after a two-year retreat. Earlier this month, it hired $419 million-asset broker Joseph Vinciguerra from Merrill in Ohio and also scooped up Mark R. Brackett, who had been overseeing around $250 million in assets in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
A spokeswoman for Merrill Lynch, which has frozen veteran broker recruiting to instead focus on hiring early-career brokers, did not respond to a request for comment on the departures.
Meanwhile, Morgan Stanley continues to shuffle veteran field leaders overseeing its revived recruiting efforts. The firm last week elevated Brandon Wiggins, who had been an associate complex manager in Bethesda, Maryland, to become the branch manager of a sizable Potomac branch.
In his new role, Wiggins will oversee approximately 20 advisors who manage around $5 billion in client assets, according to the source familiar with the moves.
Wiggins replaced Rhonda Viapiano, a Morgan Stanley MAKER who was promoted to assume the newly created position of sub-complex manager in the Albany, New York area, the source said.
Wiggins, who also worked in managerial roles at Merrill for more than seven years prior to joining Morgan Stanley in 2017, did not respond to requests for comment.