Morgan Stanley on Friday reeled in a 31-year Merrill Lynch lifer in Boston and a four-broker Merrill team in New York producing $11.8 million in annual revenue combined as it continues to keep up the pressure on its wirehouse rival.
The hires followed at least two other million-dollar-plus recruits in recent weeks from Merrill, one in Cleveland and the other in the outskirts of Atlanta that represented another $5.3 million in revenue.
In the largest of the moves, Marcella “Marcie” Behman, who ranked 33rd on Forbes’ 2021 list of America’s top women advisors, left Merrill’s private wealth management office on Friday in Boston to join Morgan Stanley in Middleton, Mass., a Morgan Stanley spokesperson confirmed. She moved with four client associates: Jaclyn Snell, Mary Chase, Owen Murray, and Teddy Smith.
Behman had generated $7 million trailing 12-month revenue from $1.3 billion in client assets, according to a source familiar with her practice. She has a $4 million account minimum for new business, according to Forbes.
Behman had led the Behman Group within the firm’s private wealth unit, formerly known as the private banking and investment group (PBIG), serving ultra-wealthy clients, according to her registration records and former firm biography. She was not immediately available for comment, according to a person answering the phone at her new office.
Her former partner at Merrill, Steven T. Smith, had left in 2018 for UBS Wealth Management USA.
In the other Friday move, the four-broker New York team known as MKM Group decamped from Merrill’s private wealth management unit for Morgan Stanley.
The team, which includes Robert M. Matluck, Lee B. Konopka, Rachel B. McCormack, and Jonathan D. Moskowitz generated $4.8 million in annual revenue from $575 million in client assets, according to a source familiar with their practice. Matluck and Konopka had worked out of White Plains, New York, while McCormack and Moskowitz worked out of New York City in the Bank of America Tower, according to their BrokerCheck reports.
The most senior member of the group, Matluck, a 35-year industry veteran, started at Advest, Inc. in 1983, and worked at now-defunct technology investment bank L.F. Rothschild, Unterberg, Towbin, where he served as a senior executive, according to his LinkedIn and BrokerCheck records. He worked at Unterberg and successor firms before moving to UBS in 2009 and then Merrill in 2013, according to his BrokerCheck report.
Konopka, with 29 years in the business, started at Smith Barney in 1992 and moved to UBS in 2008, and Merrill in 2013, according to his BrokerCheck report.
McCormack had spent all of her 15 years in the industry with Merrill, according to her BrokerCheck report. Moskowitz, with 12 years of experience, started out with Collins Stewart from 2006 until October 2008, next registered with now-defunct brokerage Merriman Curhan Ford & Co. in 2010, and did stints at three other firms before joining Merrill in 2014, according to the database.
A Merrill spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment on either of the Friday departures.
The departures come as Merrill has been looking to moderate rising attrition with a series of policy tweaks, defensive measures, and spurring enthusiasm about returning to offices. A senior Merrill executive last month said the rate of competitive departures ticked back down to 3.9% in the third quarter, in-line with historical averages and down from what a spokesperson previously said was 5% in the second quarter.
Merrill has stood by a veteran broker recruiting freeze implemented in 2017 while Morgan Stanley has been aggressively hiring in recent years and CEO James Gorman last month touted the firm’s achievement of the unusual industry feat of net positive recruiting when comparing the of new hires to those who have left.
The Friday exits followed at least two other previously unreported Merrill-to-Morgan Stanley moves in recent weeks. On November 5, a producing manager for Merrill in Cleveland, Ohio who had spent his entire two-decade career with the firm parted ways with his team to join Morgan Stanley in the nearby suburb of Westlake, according to registration records.
Steven M. Rini, who started with Merrill in 2000 and had been serving as resident director since 2012, individually managed $320 million in client assets generating $1.5 million in annual revenue at his former firm, according to a source familiar with his practice.
Three advisors listed on Rini’s former team’s website, Dan A. Bragg, Steven Wickstrom, and Matthew Meyer, remain registered with Merrill, according to their BrokerCheck reports. The team was formerly known as the DBSR Wealth Management Group but now is called CLE Wealth Management, according to the Merrill website.
Rini and Bragg, who have spent all of his 43 years in the business with Merrill, did not respond to requests for comment for this story.
In Gainesville, Georgia last month, a duo of Merrill brokers who had produced a combined $3.8 million in annual revenue from $480 million in client assets also left for Morgan Stanley, according to a source familiar with their practice and registration records.
Thomas R. Johnston, a 28-year industry veteran who had spent his entire career with Merrill, and J. Thomas “Tommy” Turner, a 23-year broker who had joined Merrill in 2002 from PPA Investments, Inc. on Oct. 1 moved to Morgan Stanley to form the Johnston Turner Group, according to their BrokerCheck reports and team website.
Johnston, who ranked 14th on Forbes’ 2021 list of best-in-state wealth advisors, produced $2.5 million from $360 million of the team’s client assets while Turner produced $1.3 million from the remaining $120 million in assets, according to the source.
The Merrill spokesperson did not comment on the departures in Cleveland or Gainesville, which were confirmed by the Morgan Stanley spokesperson.
Original article: AdvisorHub