Tag Archive for: Recruiting

“It’s a Spigot Here”- Billions Flow Out of ML This Week

You know the old saying on Wall Street “the trend is your friend?’’ Well, that is certainly the trend at Merrill/BOA. Or should we call it when it was, Merrill Lynch which was the envy of Wall Street for decades? Now it’s down to just Merrill/BOA, and then minimized down to just Merrill, a BOA company/division, and predictably will just be Bank of America alone. It’s no wonder why one resident director manager source who we spoke with on condition of anonymity “it’s a spigot here”.Even managers are now looking to exit.

Consider Roshan Ghaznavi, who also was a resident director joined UBS yesterday morning. He started at ML in 2008 and has been Resident Director of the Woodland Hills office doing $4.3M in revenues on $600M AUM. He was also part of the AGM advisory counsel at Merrill and was well respected within the group and by his colleagues at the firm. He is joined by his junior partner Matt Seukunian and 2 client associates.

Adding to the exits at Merrill, Brian Coatoam also left earlier this week. He was producing $3.6M on $560M moved to RBC from the Winter Park/Orlando area.

“Advisors from Merrill are being heavily sought after by all firms including many independent platforms,” says Roger Gershman, a recruiter who specializes in Merrill Lynch teams.
According to several of our sources of industry professionals, many advisors at Merrill are just fed up with what is clearly a major cultural shift and a different means of doing business than they have been accustomed to. A spokesperson at Merrill did not immediately return a request for comment.

“We are fielding a good amount of unsolicited calls from advisors who also care to receive top dollar for their practice and platform is best for their clients whether a bank or complete independence. “

Firms seem to be offering bigger money to ML teams than other firms with some aggressively increasing their offers for the last half of 2022. Advisors are taking notice and using this to their advantage to achieve the highest economics ever seen.

“The writing is on the wall” says another advisor in the search to exit imminently.

Another Massive High-Caliber Team Leaves Merrill

The dust is yet to settle for Merrill in DC. Last week they lost a $600M team, today Mikail Qazi and Tim Martin have decided to join UBS Private Wealth. 

Mikail is another disenchanted broker who spent the last 16 years at Merrill building his practice to over $4.2M on $500M and has been named Forbes’s best-in-state advisor for several years. He was also featured in the exclusive Next-Gen Advisors list. Both graduated in the top 1% of their classes and have earned certifications in CRPC®, CIMA®, and CFP®.

Qazi and Martin focused on advising Private Wealth Clients and will report to Julie Fox the regional director for UBS’ Private Wealth Division in the DC market. 

Roger Gershman, who has been the recruiter of choice for the Merrill Advisors looking to leave said “it’s time the firm take a good look in the mirror. There are several other Mikail’s, high-caliber, exemplary advisors looking to leave especially to UBS. We were able to execute a deal with no hurdles.” 

The Gershman Group, with over 50 years of wealth advisory recruiting. As a family company, Norman Gershman founded the firm after a 25-year career at Merrill Lynch.

“Our goal is never to urge a team to leave their current firm as the first option but only as a Plan B. Evaluating their current firm is an important part of the process.” Says Roger Gershman, the firm’s CEO who, like his dad, spent 25 years as an advisor at prestigious firms like Hambrecht & Quist and UBS PWM.

The direction of BoA has left Merrill’s herd at odds with the firm as they shift the company into a bank-centered culture. Proven by statements from Andy Sieg and the limited signings by Merrill.

Merrill Lynch’s Andy Sieg Whistles Past The Graveyard On Advisor Recruiting

There really should be memes created in honor of Andy Sieg. If there was ever a bigger corporate shill for a brand now owned by its banking overlord – it’s Mr. Sieg.

Up is down, down is up. Night is day, day is night. And the best part is, he’s so committed to the messaging that nobody other than his bosses believes.

A quick reminder that all the biggest teams and producers at legacy Merrill have been pulling the escape hatch for half of a decade now. Over and over and over again. Nearly $250B in client assets have left the firm in the past five years.

But Andy thinks that big recruiting deals are poppycock and should be frowned upon to the benefit of nameless, faceless shareholders.“We are seeing very elevated multiples for advisers as they are being recruited firm to firm,” Sieg said at the RBC Capital Markets Financial Institutions Conference. “When we see some of the levels of competitive recruiting deals, it’s very challenging that they’re going to produce threshold returns for shareholders.”This kind of inane commentary infuriates the best advisors that are left at the firm. And the thousands upon thousands of bank brokers and rookies that are replacing them are pre-programmed to fall in line.

Get out of Merrill and go get paid. Andy Sieg doesn’t care about you.

ML Herd Finds Greener Pastures in Indie

NobleVest Private Wealth is Sanctuary Wealth's Newest Partner Firm
$3.1b to Sanctuary

Merrill Lynch advisors have been looking for a newly coined term; partnered independence and no one can offer it like Sanctuary. The $3b in ML AUM over the past few months speaks to their ability to provide enough freedom for advisors to run their practice, with the flexibility to truly focus on serving clients. Welcome to the next-gen of elite advisors who are entrepreneurs at the core.

  • 8/21 Robert “Rory” O’Hara and team – $4M/$400M – Moorestown, NJ
  • 6/21 Bradley Bruce (32yr veteran) – $3M/$1.2B – Ft. Worth, TX
  • 4/21 Quorum Private Wealth (Kelly Milligan, William Michael Barry, Susan Mazzetti, Melissa Yue)  – $5M/1.5B  – Walnut Creek, CA

MIT's Sloan School and Dynasty Financial Partners Launch "Advisor to CEO Program" to Help Independent RIA Leaders Grow Best-in-Class Advisory Firms

$3b to Dynasty

Dynasty has been the leading provider of wealth management and technology platforms for independent financial advisory firms. Creating the perfect outlet to access valuable resources and industry-leading capabilities. Advisors find Dynasty to be a great fit when they are looking for efficiency to scale their operations and grow their practice. 

  • 9/21 Scott and Brett Bills, Teresa Friess, Aaron Seeman, Joshua DeLoach  – $8.8M/$1.875B  – Greenwood Village, CO
  • 3/2/21  Samuel Liebman, Matthew Liebman, Aaron Marks, Patrick Swift (Amplius Wealth Partners)  – $6M/$1.2B  – Blue Bell, PA

Perspectives - Rockefeller Capital Management

$3.4b to Rockefeller

Rockefeller continues to grow their network as it establishes new private wealth offices all across the Midwest. They have been dominating the UHNW space and feeding heavily from ML teams looking for a better name.

  • Chris Jacobs, Margot Dwyer, Stephen Randolph, Joshua Goldberg   3M/520M   Carmel, IN
  • Michael Tramontano, his son Quinton Tramontano, Robert Echavarria  (Tramontano group) 4.3M/500M  San Antonio TX
  • Mark Halcomb, Michael Frey    5M/600M   Cincinnati, OH
  • Shirley Quackenbush   2.7M/700M   Los Angeles, CA
  • John Lahoud  5.4M/500M  New  York NY
  • Dennis Bloom, Lance Williams  3.8M/600M  Olympia, WA

Review Rockefeller’s current deal

$24b to LPL Financial

LPL has been leading the Herd in the independent space for years now. Their unified vision for a single platform has made friction and complexity non-existent. Which is a breath of fresh air for the Merrill lives they’ve been recruiting.

  • Peter Shunyia – $150M – Troy, MI
  • Undisclosed name – $14.8M/$1.4b – Missoula, MT
  • Nicholas LiVecchi – $39.1M/$21b – Raleigh, NC



WANTED! Two Firms Ramp Up Their Interest In Landing Goldman Sachs Advisors (**and open up their checkbooks to prove it)

Traditional wealth management firms have historically found it difficult to accurately price Goldman Sachs advisors and teams. Most notably, there’s been a ‘play it safe’ strategy that focuses on annual W-2 comp versus gross client revenues generated by the advisor.

One firm has figured out that Goldman advisors have an excellent history transferring assets, as they have remarkable client relationships. So putting together a deal based on just W-2 comp doesn’t make sense. Annualized revenue (or how they would value a Merrill team) is the right way to do it.

UBS has been quite effective at grabbing the attention of Goldman teams across the country as of late, and it looks like they’ve taken a key step in making an even bigger splash: deferred compensation.

As we hear it, Goldman plays games with advisors deferred compensation when they leave. UBS has decided to make that a non-issue and is including deferred comp balances for Goldman advisors in every deal they do. Done and done. No more golden handcuffs.

**This is on top of the 200-250% recruiting deal and the 260% retirement deal UBS offers. So if you’re a Goldman team reading this, you read it right – that’s better than 5x on your current annualized gross revenue.**

Oh, and about the second firm we mentioned? They aren’t totally ready to announce their full intentions with Goldman teams, but when they do, we expect them to make waves across the country. (Name rhymes with Rockefeller).

Rockefeller Deal Ticks Higher, Culture Still Resonates With Biggest Teams From Merrill and Morgan Stanley

Rockefeller has had unquestioned success recruiting big teams. That’s not debatable. Every month multiple announcements find their way into the press proving that fact.

Large teams from Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, and UBS continue to find the story remarkable and easy to sell to clients. Assets transfer quickly and the ‘bespoke’ feel of the firm isn’t just a narrative, but rather reality.

In a conversation with a couple of sources close to Rockefeller, it looks like their recruiting success may tick higher in the second half of 2021. Rockefeller remains highly capitalized and focused on hitting home runs on the recruiting trail.

Leaving direct quotes out of it, Rockefeller has done deals with some of the biggest upfront payments in the industry. That’s part of the reason why they remain selective with who they recruit. The teams recruit and cut big checks to transfer their assets. So there is a clear roadmap.

The above paragraph is a nice way of saying if you’re a big team you’re going to get paid at Rockefeller. Big time paid. They like to win, and based on the current recruiting scoreboard, they keep winning.

So back to the headline, yes, Rockefeller’s deal has ticked a smidge higher, as has their flexibility in constructing deals. As an example, they do a great job handling teams with retiring advisors. That flexibility has made them very successful with Merrill teams.

That success will continue. Also, keep your eyes on Chicago and Denver. Rockefeller has some big things cooking in both locations.

Slow Leak Out Of Bernstein Picks Up Speed; Larger Advisors Migrate To Greener Pastures (mostly to UBS)

There’s been a lot said about the massive shift in private banking and ‘non-traditional’ recruiting over the past several months. Much has been written about both J. P. Morgan and Goldman Sachs teams moving UBS and to a lesser extent, Morgan Stanley.

Add Bernstein advisors to that narrative. In the past 12 months these are the names and numbers associated with transitions away from Bernstein:

Dallas $13M John Baumgarten, Cory Dowell and Chad M. Jones
– San Francisco $7.6M Robert Stoker
– New York $10M Alex Hewit/Mike Tucker
– San Deigo $7M Chis Pitzak
– Nashville Jay Degeare $12M
– Julian McGraph $4.5M

Each of those moves is of note based on the well-known reputations that each advisor had within the Bernstein ecosystem. These aren’t lower-level ‘analysts’ or VP’s. These are Managing Directors of the firm.

A note before we close out this article – UBS is in an absolute tear and is showing ZERO signs of slowing down. Zero. They’ve very effectively taken dozens of J. P. Morgan private bankers, several Goldman Sachs teams, and Bernstein teams. As we hear it, the pressure and focus on Bernstein and Goldman are about to ramp up in the second half of 2021. A pivot, or shift if you will.

It wouldn’t surprise us at all if the same amount of advisors/teams noted above came out of Bernstein in the next six months, increasing the velocity of movement out of the firm. Just expect more headlines.

The narrative and reality with regards to the Bernstein to UBS pipeline are real and worth understanding. The proof, as they say, is in the proverbial pudding.

DOMINATION! UBS Is Hammering The Recruiting Competition This Year, And It Isn’t Even Close

UBS hasn’t found the secret sauce, they’ve perfected the use of Thor’s magical hammer and are pounding away at rivals who’ve yet to figure out a way to match their efforts.

J. P. Morgan in particular is being completely bludgeoned with zero signs of the mass exodus of top talent slowing down. While a few private bankers from JPM have matriculated to Morgan Stanley, more than 90% have taken their talents directly to UBS.

Add those to the Merrill, Wells, and Morgan Stanley wins and UBS is so far out in front of its competition the race seems rigged. But it isn’t… rather it’s a well-executed recruiting strategy that may have seemed risky a year ago but has turned into absolute gold.

A two-fold ‘macro’ decision was made and has resonated in a way that has UBS up by 5X their closest competitor (Rockefeller) instated client asset transfer. As it stands today, UBS is a few bucks away from the first half of 2021 total of $60B in client assets recruited. Amazing.

Can they keep it up through the second half of the year? Not likely. But even if the pace slows, UBS could still end up with a $100B year. Unprecedented.

If you want to define recruiting domination – this is exactly what it looks like.

A Dynamic Recruiting Conversation: “Should we even consider Wells Fargo?”

In a lengthy discussion with a team that seems determined to leave JP Morgan Securities, multiple points of the recruiting and due diligence process were uncovered. Given the depth of the conversation, the highlights seemed to be noteworthy and of value to the wealth management discussion.

With assets under management and revenues at all-time highs across the industry, recruiting is white-hot. Deal percentages are at the highs, while hurdles inside deals are near all-time lows. It is a seller’s market in every way.


You happen to be tethered to a Wells Fargo logo. The conversation is much different given the missteps that have come from that firm in the past 24 months. Whether it be fraudulent account openings or a newly minted CEO making racially insensitive remarks, Wells Fargo has stumbled its way to where it currently resides – a recruiting afterthought.

Here is how that conversation went last week:

“Should we even look at Wells Fargo? I’ve heard their deal is big, but will the fog ever lift from that place? Leaving JPM and the brand itself is really our only challenge with client transition – I can’t imagine the extra weight explaining a move to Wells Fargo would entail.”

“Are serious teams really going there or is it just straight-up money grab? It feels like anyone that goes there is striking a massive almost off-book deal. That’s just our perception. Merrill Lynch is probably a more interesting name than Wells at this point.”

Oof. Merrill (a division of Bank of America) is more interesting right now. If there was ever more painful wealth management recruiting take we’ve yet to hear it.

But that is where Wells Fargo finds itself. The biggest deal on the street, paying recruiters up to 10% deal fees, and adjusting deals for teams in any way possible to lure them into the fold.

As the saying goes, “desperate times call for desperate measures.”

Betting On Zero: The Friction Associated With Recruiting Due Diligence Has Dwindled To Almost Nothing

Trends and changes often sneak upon us. We usually don’t see them (or act on them) until it is nearly too late. This is an article to make sure you see a current trans very clearly and don’t let it pass you by.

For the entirety of your career, the idea of engaging in the process of discussing a move to a new firm and walking the pathway of due diligence was a ‘cloak and dagger affair. Taking phone calls off-site, in your car, lunches across town, using clandestine email accounts, etc etc. The stress associated with the process of getting a meaningful offer kept most advisors from pursuing the process.

**CLEARS THROAT** All of that is gone. Gone. Gone. Gone. Due to changes brought on by the Covid pandemic the ease of engaging with firms interested in your services has never been easier. If you want to take a phone call from a rival manager, no problem; take it from your home office and your cell phone. We doubt your significant other is going to report you. Need to take a meeting with department heads important to your book? Again, no problem; jump on a Zoom call from your deck.

The point here is this: the friction associated with the recruiting process has never, ever been lower. In fact, it is approaching frictionless. If there’s anything positive that’s come from Covid associated charges to the industry, this is one of them.

If you are betting on zero and looking to find the best value for your book (with markets and client balances at all-time highs) the ‘climate’ has never been better.