43-Year Merrill Vet Goes Indie in Oregon, Opco Hires Merrill Up-And-Comer
One is youthful, one is experienced and they’re both leaving Merrill Lynch Wealth Management.
The Bank of America-owned brokerage giant that has eschewed hiring experienced advisors from rivals to focus on novice brokers and internal development lost West Coast brokers on both ends of the spectrum in recent days.
Olivas’ asset growth made him one of the top performers by household acquisition among novice brokers, and he made presentations to other new advisors about his tactics, said the source, who declined to be identified because he works with Merrill.
Olivas did not return requests for comment. Michael Casey, Oppenheimer’s Newport Beach branch manager and a former Merrill market manager, also did not return a call for comment.
Last week, a young Merrill adviser in St. Louis who had won recognition for her early production skills left to join a UBS wealth management team.
On the other end of the experience spectrum, Eugene, Oregon-based broker Blaine Werner left Merrill after spending his 43-year career with the Thundering Herd to launch an independent registered investment advisory firm.
Werner, 66, said he was managing $400 million in client assets that he hopes to transition to his new business, 44 Wealth Management. He is affiliating with tru Independence, a Portland, Ore. firm that provides back-office services, compliance and other support to registered investment advisers, and using Fidelity Investments as primary custodian for his clients’ assets.
Like competitors Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, UBS Wealth Management and Wells Fargo Advisors, Merrill has been enhancing incentives in its Client Transition Program for advisors who commit to remaining with the firm through retirement, but the upgraded Merrill program will not be effective until November 2021,
Werner, who was ranked #11 in Forbes’ 2020 list of top brokers in Oregon, said he had not evaluated Merrill’s CTP program because he was not ready to retire, but believes he can more easily transition his business to his daughter as an independent advisor.
“The independent space has come into bloom,” he said, citing technology that allows him to offer products and services equivalent to what he can provide at a major firm. “It is a much more level playing field.”
One member of his Merrill team, adviser Joan P. Martin, remains at the wirehouse, he said. Martin, who began her career at Merrill in 2006, did not return a request for comment.
A Merrill spokesperson did not return a request for comment.