Wells Recruits Back Family Team from Merrill Lynch in California and Utah
Wells Fargo Advisors has convinced a nine-person team in California and Utah led by two brothers to return to its fold after a decade with Merrill Lynch.Charles and Curtis Parry, who moved to Merrill after eight years with Wells Fargo and predecessor Wachovia Securities, rejoined Wells on October 17 with another broker, Charles’ son Chase, and six client associates.
Parry Private Wealth Management Group, based in Woodland Hills, Calif., and Salt Lake City, was overseeing $586 million in client assets, according to Forbes rankings. They produced about $4 million in revenue in the previous 12 months, said a source who claimed familiarity with their book of business.
Charles ranked #7 on Forbes’ 2019 Best-in-Utah Advisors listing. He started his brokerage career with Shearson Lehman Hutton in 1988 in New York, and also did stints with Prudential Securities and PaineWebber before moving to Wachovia in 2000, according to his BrokerCheck history.
Curtis, a certified financial planner, joined his brother in 1997 at PaineWebber. Chase Parry, who Forbes ranked #103 on its 2019 Next Gen Best-In-California Wealth Advisors, began his brokerage career with the family team in 2012 at Merrill Lynch, according to his BrokerCheck. None of the advisors responded to requests for comment.
The Parrys told clients that they hitched up with Wells “after careful consideration and much thought,” citing the advisory, brokerage and asset management resources available at one of the nation’s largest full-service banks, according to a posting on their new website.
They did not explain how the resources differed at Bank of America-owned Merrill Lynch. BofA Chairman and Chief Executive said in an investor presentation Tuesday that consumer banking continues to drive much of the bank’s profitability and is growing through referrals back and forth between wealth management and banking. “Believe it or not, the wealthiest customers in the world like to be connected through relationships” reinforced through credit cards and other banking products, he said.
Wells Fargo Advisors’ brokerage count has declined by more than 1,000 since disclosure three years ago of fake account scandals at its sister bank, leading the brokerage firm to rev up signing bonuses and headhunter fees to replenish its ranks.
Advisor headcount fell by a net 76 in the third quarter. A Wells Fargo Advisor spokeswoman attributed the decline primarily to retirements.
Merrill executives say they are continuing with their freeze on recruiting experienced brokers. The advisor force at Merrill Wealth and Merrill Private Wealth franchises declined by 130 to 14,690 as of June 30 from a year earlier, and the firm did not break out numbers for the core brokerage franchises.
The firm has instead focused on training new brokers and seeding more of its experienced teams with lower-paid advisors at the bank’s Merrill Edge discount unit who work with less affluent customers than Merrill Wealth brokers.
Merrill did not break out its wealth management numbers for the third quarter, but reported that headcount across the “continuum of wealth management capabilities” in the bank’s discount, private banking and traditional brokerage businesses rose by 149 as of September 30 to 17,657.
Spokespeople from Merrill Lynch and Wells Fargo did not respond to requests for comment.