42-Year Merrill Lifer and Son Move Their $500-Mln AUM Team to RBC
RBC Wealth Management on Thursday nabbed a Chicago-area Merrill Lynch Wealth Management father-son team that managed more than $500 million in client assets, according to an RBC spokesperson.
They are the second team to join a Lake Forest branch that opened in April with a $2 billion-asset team from Merrill. Both report to Justin Ferdula, a Chicago complex director who joined from Morgan Stanley in 2017. Ferdula did not return a call for comment.
“We were looking for a firm with a smaller feel and strong culture, that also shares our focus on the client-advisor relationship, and we found that in RBC Wealth Management,” Ryan Birkhauser said in a statement.
The duo, whose move was not yet reflected on BrokerCheck, did not return a telephone call on their move, and the RBC spokeswoman declined to provide their production.
Spokespeople for Merrill did not return a request for comment on the move or the brokers’ statement.
The Birkhausers’ departure came coincidentally on the day after Merrill Lynch President Andy Sieg unveiled a two-month-long campaign called “Project Thunder” to address common concerns among the Merrill force that was read by brokers and former managers as an effort to boost retention amid a growing number of departures.
Like several recent exits, Ryan Birkhauser, who graduated in 2007 from Northwestern University, was a top-ranked ‘Next-Generation’ broker, according to Forbes, which listed him as #109 last year. He was also a “Best in State” broker for the last three years. He has no disclosures on his BrokerCheck record.
His father opened Merrill’s Lake Forest office in 2000, and the branch has grown to manage over $1.5 billion in assets, according to their Merrill biography.
The elder Birkhauser has two disclosures on his much lengthier BrokerCheck record, the most recent in 2018, when the firm settled for $10,000 a client’s $65,000 claim based on allegations about unsuitable investment recommendations and misrepresentation. In his comment on the record, Birkhauser denied the allegations and wrongdoing and said he did not contribute to the settlement.
His record also reflects a 2002 client claim for almost $2.7 million, which was settled for $666,666, and was based on allegations of “unauthorized trading, unsuitable investments and misrepresentations with respect to research recommendations.”
The third advisor on the team, Kenney, started in the industry in 2006 at Morgan Stanley and moved to Merrill in 2008, according to her BrokerCheck record, which has no disclosures.