Morgan Stanley Snags Teams Producing $3.6 Mln From Merrill, RayJay
Morgan Stanley’s revived recruiting appetite landed it a pair of teams from Merrill Lynch and Raymond James in recent weeks.
In Dublin, Ohio, Merrill veterans Jon Christopher Brooks, James White III and Daniel Cochran joined Morgan Stanley on July 31. They were generating $2.4 million in trailing-12 production on $340 million in client assets, said a person familiar with their book, and had collectively worked at Merrill for almost 55 years.
Morgan Stanley, the biggest “wirehouse” with about 15,400 brokers, restarted recruiting this year after a two-year retreat highlighted by its exit from the Protocol for Broker Recruiting in an attempt to rein in departures of experienced advisors.
Merrill has been a frequent target. In addition to the Brooks team, Morgan Stanley in July hired another solo practitioner and Merrill lifer in Dublin with a $419 million book of business, a three-person Merrill team in Atlanta producing $2.9 million and a $2.3-million solo practitioner in New Jersey who left on the same day, and a $1.5-million trio of producers in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
A Merrill spokesperson did not return a request for comment on its response to its rival’s recruiting. (UBS has filed a breach-of-contract arbitration claim against a former branch manager and his team near Dublin, Ohio, who jumped to Morgan Stanley in 2019, and has won a court injunction preventing them from soliciting former clients.)
The new Morgan Stanley team in Ohio is led by Brooks, who began his brokerage career 24 years ago after serving in the Air Force and had been with Merrill since 1999. White, whose Morgan Stanley biography says he was a pro hockey player and has a Harvard MBA, had spent his 18-year brokerage career with Merrill. Cochran, a former state auditor in Ohio, joined the Thundering Herd in 2006 following a three-month rookie stint at Ameriprise Financial, according to their BrokerCheck histories.
None of the advisors returned requests for comment on their moves.
The Raymond James emigrants also joined Morgan Stanley after extended careers at their former firm. Couto has worked at a RayJay branch in Port Charlotte, Fla. for all but three months of his 20-year brokerage career, according to BrokerCheck. Leontitsis started a second career as a broker five years ago at Raymond James in the same branch, after working as an estate attorney, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Leontitsis said he and Couto could not immediately comment on the reasons for their switch from Raymond James. The Florida-based firm has aggressively promoted its broker-centric culture that it contrasts in recruiting pitches to that of wirehouses. RayJay, for example, offers written guarantees that it will not immediately solicit customers of advisors who leave.
In another Morgan Stanley branch development in Florida, the wirehouse promoted Tina Turi-Shelley to be its Southwest complex director of branches in Fort Myers, Punta Gorda and Sebring.
Turi-Shelley, who joined Morgan Stanley from Wells Fargo Advisors in 2014, had been an associate complex manager. She continues to report to Morgan Stanley’s Naples complex manager Vince Colucci, according to a Morgan Stanley spokeswoman.