First Republic Snatches Mega Citi Team with $14 Million Production
First Republic Private Wealth Management has reeled in a large Citigroup team that had been generating around $14 million in annual revenue in New York City and Boca Raton, Florida, according to three well-placed sources.
Vahab, who began his brokerage career with Citi in 2003 and is said to split time between New York and Boca Raton, made the move along with advisors David Gurthrie, David Stecker, Evan Soff, Vincent Zappola, Robert Nicastro and Michael Kantor, the sources said. The group could not be reached for comment.
A Citi spokesman declined to comment on the departure or whether members of the team stayed beyind. The Madison Group’s former team page lists 16 total personnel.
Vahab had ranked 26th nationally on Forbes’ ‘Next Gen Advisors’ list for 2020 and 17th on its ‘Best-in-State Wealth Advisors’ list for 2021. He has an account minimum of $3 million, according to the publication.
The group, which reports to regional manager Michael Lee, is the second to join First Republic this year as the San Francisco-based bank has been extending high-end deals to advisors and this quarter offered an enhanced finder’s fee to recruiters. The bank, which has around 200 brokers, hired eight teams last year, primarily from its larger wirehouse rivals.
Vahab’s group had been part of Citi’s Personal Wealth Management unit, which a source said includes around 400 brokers who are paid largely on commission and are separate from Citi’s salaried private bankers, who work with clients with at least $25 million.
Citi this year shifted its payout structure and pay schedule for senior PWM brokers. They moved from a monthly commission payout to a quarterly grid pay supplemented by a monthly salary and credit tied to subjective qualification, including client satisfaction, teamwork and other qualitative assessments.
Moves out of the unit have been relatively uncommon because it’s a relatively small group and because some customers of bank-based brokers can be more tethered to the bank and harder to move.
Citigroup exited the Protocol for Broker Recruiting in early 2018, on the heels of more dramatic withdrawals from the protocol by Morgan Stanley and UBS Financial Services. The bank had previously just applied the Protocol, which allows brokers to take customer contact information to their new firm, to the PWM unit. (First Republic remains a signatory to the pact.)
The private wealth business was seeded from bank-based brokers who remained after Citi in 2009 sold its core Smith Barney retail brokerage business, with more than 7,000 advisors, to Morgan Stanley.
Citi’s new Chief Executive Jane Fraser in January highlighted the bank’s focus on the wealth unit with a restructuring that merged the Personal Wealth business and the Private Bank into a combined Citi Global Wealth unit.
“Making wealth management a key differentiator and source of enhanced returns for Citi will be an important element of our strategy going forward,” Fraser said in announcing the changes.