Rockefeller Captures Another Merrill Team in Atlanta
Rockefeller Capital Management on Friday again corralled a team of Merrill Lynch brokers in Atlanta.
Blake Bruce and John “Ty” Dickey, who ranked in recent Forbes polls as “top Millennial” brokers managing some $400 million in assets, left Merrill Lynch’s Buckhead office to join the “global family office” unit of the recapitalized Rockefeller wealth management firm that is led by former Merrill and Morgan Stanley executive Greg Fleming.
Joined by advisor William Unrue and two client associates, the team is the fourth that Rockefeller has recruited from wirehouses in the past three months, and the sixth hired since Fleming took the reins one year ago.
Last month, Rockefeller recruited five advisors from Merrill’s Atlanta office who collectively generated more than $15 million in fees and commissions. In December two UBS private wealth advisors in Atlanta overseeing about $2 billion of assets and producing $13 million of revenue joined the New York-based firm.
The concentration of recruits in Georgia reflect Rockefeller’s hiring of Michael Outlaw, a longtime Morgan Stanley manager who since November has run its wealth office in Atlanta.
Rockefeller is “not leading with money” with its deals, said people familiar with its recruiting strategy, and the advisers are taking a chance that the firm will successfully build the technology and wealth platform that Fleming has promised to build. He is doing it with the help of a cash infusion from Viking Global Investors, a private equity firm that bought a majority interest in Rockefeller last year.
Bruce and Dickey, who were senior vice presidents at Merrill, generated just under $4 million for the firm in the previous 12 months, said three people familiar with their practice. (Forbes last year said they had $351 million of custodied assets from clients with accounts typically ranging from $1-$6 million.)
Their Merrill website flaunted their designations as “top millennial” and “top next-generation wealth advisors.” Bruce also ranked #70 in Forbes’ most recent best-in-state ranking for Georgia.
Bruce first registered as a broker almost 15 years ago with Morgan Stanley, and joined Merrill in November 2008, according to his BrokerCheck history. Dickey similarly began his brokerage career at Morgan Stanley, but left after less than a year to join Merrill the same day as Bruce. Unrue began his brokerage career at Merrill’s office in September 2015, according to his BrokerCheck record.
Earlier on Friday, Stifel Financial said its Stifel, Nicolaus retail brokerage hired three Merrill brokers in Irvine, Calif. and Syracuse, NY, who were collectively managing $327 million in client assets.
The largest producer was William Linas, in Irvine, who Stifel said managed about $184 million. Linas has spent all of his 14-year career as a broker with Merrill, according to his BrokerCheck history. Stifel also hired Mike Flood in Irvine, an adviser who was with Merrill for more than 23 years and was overseeing $91 million, and James DiBlasi, the Syracuse broker who Stifel said oversaw $52 million. DiBlasi, who has been a broker since 1996, joined Merrill 12 years ago.
A Merrill spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment on the departures.