2023 will go down in history as the biggest year of financial advisor moves to date. The winning firm for the most departures was hands-down Merrill Lynch, a trend expected to continue. Putting things in perspective, First Republic Bank and Silicon Valley Bank blew up to kick things off, sending advisors into a frenzy to find new homes or settle for life with acquiring firms, i.e. JPMorgan. Later, Goldman Sachs Personal Financial Management was sold off to Creative Planning, another move that sent advisors reeling. Meanwhile consolidation in the big wirehouse space whittled viable options down to four, while the independent RIA space saw exponential growth of new firms and supported independent platforms, and also senior management of big firms fleeing to the space. Moving into 2024, volatility is expected to continue, we will have to see what this brings given the election year predicted turbulence. The one thing that is for certain and research proves, advisors are moving to independence now at a 50% rate given the choice. The time to control one’s destiny is clearly now.
Here’s a quick snapshot of 2023 moves in review.
UBS is a large wirehouse that often acts similarly to a boutique wealth management firm, customizing deals for advisors down to building new offices for big teams, offering PWM for UHNW clients including family office services, trust services, and tax planning.
18-person former Merrill Lynch team (lifers) in South Carolina, with $13 million in revenue and managing $2.6 billion in client assets. The lead advisors include: Michael P. Velasco Sr., Ladd G. Lumpkin, Larry “Shufy” Rowe, John F. McCabe, Brent D. Roof, Thomas B. Caskey, William Velasco Jr. (Michael’s son) and Paula B. Sabbagha.
13-person former Merrill Lynch team in New York City, with $16 million in revenue and managing $2.5 billion in client assets. The team is led by Michael Bromberg and Daniel A. Gerschel.
2-person+ former Merrill Lynch team in San Francisco, with $7 million in revenue and managing $1 billion in client assets. The group is led by brokers Jeffrey M. Klinger and Bradley Quan.
Rockefeller Capital is a multi-family office led by Greg Fleming, former Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch executive, specializing in services for UHNW clients vis a vis full family office services, tax, concierge services, and access to a suite of alternative investments.
17-person former FRB team in New York, with $14.5 in revenue and managing $2.4 billion in client assets. The team includes David Farber, Larry Rothenberg, Shaun Van Vliet, Timothy Deygoo and Schuyler Perry as well as a dozen support staff.
4-person former Janney Montgomery Scott team in Washington DC, with $3.5 million in revenue and managing $680 million in client assets. The team is led by Sheila S. Shaffer and Eric P. Walker and also includes advisor Daniel W. Spainhour and client associate Allyson Albert.
5-person+ former Wells Fargo team in Los Angeles, with $3 million in revenue, and managing $350 million in client assets. The team includes: Matthew Willis, Frank Willis, Neil Martin, and Patrick Digenan.
Under James Gorman, wealth management has grown significantly, a theme that is to continue with Ted Pick, a destination for many top teams given alternative investments, the power of the platform, and the cachet of the brand name itself.
12-person former FRB team in San Francisco, with $23 million in revenue and managing $3 billion in client assets. Team includes brokers Sean F. Bricmont, David Dudek, Stephen R. Marotto and Randy J. Peterson.
5-person former Merrill Lynch team in NY and West Palm Beach, FL, with $7 million in revenue, and managing $900 million in client assets. The group is led by Laszlo (Paul) Vasady-Kovacs, who is based in New York, along with Florida-based Jay L. Goldstein, and support staff Christian Martinez, Dana Shaker and Sean Hanigan.
WELLS FARGO ADVISORS
Barry Sommers eliminated the salary model for brokers, a message not found elsewhere in the big wirehouse space. The power of First Clearing with banking services, and unique support for advisors has led many considering moves to WFA.
2-person+ former FRB team in Los Angeles, with $9.2 million in revenue and managing $1.2 billion in client assets. Alexander H. Kadish and Nicholas Davey joined one week before FRB’s collapse.
LPL is the power of the largest independent RIA in the US, with PWM launching, there is something for every advisor both through a W2 and 1099 model.
7-person former RBC team in York, PA, with $4.25 in revenue and managing $900 million in client assets. The team is led by Brock Hively, Josh Smeltzer, Aaron Gingrich and Emily Sides to form Sides Wealth Advisory Group.
2-person+ client associates former Morgan Stanley team in Westlake, CA, managing $1.2 billion in client assets. Father-son team, Burke and Chris Francis.
GOLDMAN SACHS ADVISOR SOLUTIONS
The cachet of the Goldman Sachs name cannot be understated. Clients enjoy receiving statements from Golman yet with the personalization of a boutique advisor, not the firm. The suite of investments is unmatched.
2-person+ former Morgan Stanley team in Baintree, MA, with $7 million in revenue and managing $650 million in client assets. The team is led by Christopher Griffith and Henry Wheelright and now goes under the name Stablepoint Partners.
RBC is attracting teams from big wirehouses looking for an alternative in certain markets where RBC is very strong, somewhat of a boutique solution with the power of a major bank behind it.
10-person team including Leslie A. Lauer, RebeccaT. Glasgow, Wayne “Curt” Rubinas in Atlanta, GA, left UBS for RBC with $22 million in revenue and managing $5.5 billion in assets.
3+ person team including Jeremy J. Ruccio, James Tristan Lambert, Bita Asgari in Miami FL left Merrill Lynch for RBC, managing $1.37 billion in assets.