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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.

Deal Deconstruction: Rockefeller Focuses On Revenue Increases To Produce Big Deal Metrics

Rockefeller is a revered name in finance, in America, and on Wall Street. It always has been and always will be. The name itself (and the team that Greg Fleming built) has told a story that has resonated with advisors looking to leave wirehouses yet be able to ‘flex’ with clients when asking them to transfer to greener pastures.

It has worked for the last few years. But that story and narrative is well worn now and is a ‘good to have not a force multiplier. Teams are digging deep into the Rockefeller story and as the recruiting game is as competitive as it has ever been – money talks and bullshit walks.

And Rockefeller has decided to buck the current trend of asset-based deals that became all the rage in the short-lived fiduciary duty government mandate conversation. As the industry tried to keep up with the rhythms of politics, many firms pivoted from revenue-based deals (or a hybrid) and focused on asset transfer as the foundation of percentage-based back-end deals.

Rockefeller has gone the other direction. Teams are seriously rewarded for revenues and revenue growth in the years after they’ve joined the firm. In other words, they can ‘gross their way’ to higher bonuses as the years’ progress.

In a market that has held up and seems to hit new highs on a monthly basis the opportunity with an institutional name that resonates with every client has kept Rockefeller in every competitive recruitment. And winning their share along the way. Check the records, they keep adding Merrill teams by the buckets full.

If you are looking for a deal that rewards your ability to land clients and generate record-breaking revenues (as markets and client balances at ATH), then Rockefeller is an ideal partner.

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An interesting piece of intel was sent our way by a source that we trust. The source is connected in the wealth management space and may or may not be a competing executive or a well known recruiter. Either way, the message was a bit startling…

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Recruiting Shift: UBS And Rockefeller Significantly Outpace Rivals Using Different Narratives

It is an understatement to say that the Covid-19 pandemic ‘changed’ wealth management habits for both firms and clients. Simply claiming changes doesn’t do it justice. Some serious shifts took place and the initial results as it relates to recruiting are beginning to become very clear.

A reduction in costs and overhead associated with hard asset real estate seems to have been shifted to recruiting budgets and high-quality, tenured advisors and teams are benefitting in ways the industry has never seen before.

Specifically, elite (those listed on Forbes and Barron’s lists) teams are defaulting to what is familiar, if not a smidge smaller in scale. As of this writing, two firms have taken a significant lead in the recruiting economy: UBS and Rockefeller.

The case for UBS looks like this – the global leader in wealth management, resources that rival anyone in the industry AND they’ve decided to remove any and all hurdles from their deal when recruiting from traditional rivals (MS, WF, ML). That narrative has never been heard or seen before and it is having a massive impact. **read that again, no hurdles in their deal.

Rockefeller, on the other hand, has become the ‘Goldilocks’ of the wealth management world. Not an independent or hybrid, killer tech platform, a legacy brand name that seriously resonates with HNW and UHNW clients, and a commitment to bring on big teams that are uniquely respected amongst their peers.

What we’ve seen has become a pattern in 2021. The commitment by UBS to go with a no hurdle deal has been a brilliant decision by their leadership, and the Rockefeller name and culture continue to be an easy ‘yes’ when advisors of distinction are approached.

Ultimately, the numbers tell the story: UBS and Rockefeller are leading the recruiting pack by double their closest competitors. Both firms claim asset transfer numbers in Q1 of better than $8B. First Republic and Morgan Stanley are hovering around $3B. A massive gap.

Given that wealth management recruiting is the ultimate ‘capitalism economy’ and assets and revenue flow to the best and brightest – digging deeper with both firms should be on any curious advisors list.

Rockefeller Lands Another Flagship Team; Nets More Than $3B In Assets

Rockefeller continues its dominating ways at the top end of the wealth management recruiting arena.  Since Greg Fleming’s arrival over two years ago, the exclusive wealth management company has set their sights on wirehouse teams that claim to have better than a half-billion in assets under management. Fleming has added 84 teams so far, 23 this year alone, with very competitive economic packages.

Today, Rockefeller announced the arrival of Marie and Shawn Moore. The $5M team ranked #42 on Forbes’ list of top women advisors and in Texas, ranked #1 with almost $500M in AUM. According to FINRA’S BrokerCheck, Marie was a Morgan Stanely lifer includes predecessor firms like Lehman Brothers and Smith Barney.

Last week, Rockefeller has added more than $2B+ in client assets spread across three different teams. Two from UBS and one from Merrill Lynch.

Bob Fink and John McMahon made the move with a $1B in client assets under management and better than $5M in annual revenue. Bob, started with Merrill in 1996 and ranked #44 on Forbes’ list of the top northern California wealth advisors. Both he and McMahon has been registered with Merrill for 39 years without a single customer complaint or negatives mark as shown by their BrokerCheck records. The team will be a part of Rockefeller’s northwest division, and work under by Brian Riley, who was also a former Merrill Lynch private wealth manager.

From UBS joined Jason Zilveti in Scottsdale, AZ with $2M in annual revenue and $400M in client assets. As well as Francis Amsler and Marc Laborde in Houston, TX adding $800M in client assets under management and another $4M in annual revenue. They make up the third private wealth group in the Houston branch.

To say Rockefeller is on a role doesn’t quite get it done. Right now, they are the wealth management ‘belle of the ball’ and everyone wants a dance.

 

Rockefeller Keeps Winning Big Team ‘Bake Off’s’ – We Tell You Why

The Rockefeller name burst on to the scene in earnest when Greg Fleming left Morgan Stanley and was announced as the firm’s leader. The two names resonated across the wealth management spectrum, as did the whispers of the deep and heavy pockets Rockefeller was rumored (and of course confirmed) to be armed with at the time. The two (Fleming and Rockefeller) seemed to be well suited as a pair, and that has unquestionably been the case.

Besides Mr. Fleming’s resume’ and presence at the firm, what is it that continues to draw the largest of wirehouse firms to the name? We’ve spoken to a number of advisors and the answer seems to be three-fold, and once explained, somewhat obvious. Take a look at what we’ve been hearing throughout 2020 and judge for yourself:

  1. Branding still matters, and the Rockefeller name resonates.Given the movement to both the RIA and independent space over the past decade (and there is no doubt that it has moved at scale and continued its momentum) one would think that a new entrant to the ‘full-service space would struggle. Case in point, FieldPoint Private, a firm with well-heeled management and a wirehouse like set up. The divergence between the two can initially be chalked up to branding. The Rockefeller name emits incredible gravitas and history. It is instantly recognizable in every corner of finance and wealth management. Nearly every advisor is aware of the who/what/where of Rockefeller, while most have no idea who FPP is. The name, the brand still matters in this business.
  2. Greg Fleming continues to keep the firm ‘up-market’.The commitment to essentially focus on large wirehouse teams has paid off in a big way. Each and every hire gets a resounding chorus of praise from the wealth management press and the Rockefeller story is told again. This was the initial HighTower model that started off well, but was too quickly discarded – principally because HighTower wasn’t capitalized to the extent that Rockefeller is and will continue to be. HighTower abandoned the strategy and ended up with three different platforms and payout structures; effectively abandoning the branding story it had built. Rockefeller and Greg Fleming have stayed committed to the script.
  3. Advisors that have joined the firm and are deep into due diligence and evaluation tell us that Rockefeller’s tech and the platform are second to none.In an age where advisors are more closely tied to their laptops and mobile devices rather than their desktops to service clients, the tech at the firm that they join is incredibly important. Every single advisor that has had any depth of contact with the firm has extolled their commitment to technology. The term ‘ease of use’ comes up often when the conversation turns to tech with respect to Rockefeller.

The themes here are heavily weighted toward branding. If you are a team of size at UBS, Merrill, Morgan or Wells you are aware of Rockefeller and have either been watching them closely or are engaged in evaluating them as a potential landing spot. Their deal is robust and they know it. Their brand is robust and they know it. That institutional level of confidence is appealing to Barron’s/Forbes types of advisors. They want to be around winners – and Greg Fleming is just that.

He’s also closer. When Rockefeller is involved in competitive recruitment, they usually win.

“This business is mostly based on ‘do I like that guy’…” – Roger Sterling, Mad Men.