J.P. Morgan Loses $8-Mln Team to Morgan Stanley, Wins Merrill Broker in NYC
J.P. Morgan Advisors’ New York City office lost a $1 billion-asset team led by three Forbes-listed advisors last week to Morgan Stanley but this week added a veteran broker from Merrill Lynch with $230 million in client assets, according to registration records and sources familiar with the practices.
The team, which calls itself the Kline Zemachson Richman Group, is led by Marcus Kline, Scott Zemachson and Todd Richman, who ranked 224th, 204th and 215th on Forbes’ list this year of best-in-state advisors. They had a minimum account size of $3 million, according to Forbes, and had been managing about $1 billion in client assets, the source said.
Kline, Zemachson and Richman each joined Morgan Stanley as a managing director with the firm’s private wealth division, according to their LinkedIn profiles.
Reached at the team’s new office on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, Kline said they did “extensive due diligence” and cast a wide net in their search for a new firm. He said they were attracted to the potential to join Morgan Stanley’s private wealth division as it felt like a smaller organization within the Wall Street bank.
“There’s a boutiquey feel we’re getting at the branch, at least in the Private Wealth Management division,” Kline said in a brief call. “It’s a big firm, but they made it feel small.”
The division had 250 teams assisting clients with $20 million-plus in investable assets as of the end of March 2020, according to the team’s website.
Kline registered for a stint in 1995 with Smith Barney but his brokerage license lapsed between 1996 and when he re-registered with AllianceBernstein predecessor Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. in 2001. He moved to J.P. Morgan in 2011, according to his BrokerCheck.
Zemachson, who had joined Sanford C. Bernstein/AllianceBernstein in 1997, also made the switch to J.P. Morgan in 2011, while Richman had joined Sanford C. Bernstein/AllianceBernstein in 2003 but didn’t move to J.P. Morgan until 2012, the database said. None of the three have any disclosures or client events on their records.
A spokesperson for J.P. Morgan declined to comment on the move.
In the other direction, Keith “KR” Ward on Monday joined J.P. Morgan Advisors in New York City from Merrill Lynch, where he had managed $230 million in client assets, another J.P. Morgan spokesperson said. She declined to comment on Ward’s production.
Ward, who had previously been registered in Greenwich, Connecticut, did not respond to a request for comment sent through social media.
This will be the fourth sojourn at a large traditional brokerage for Ward, who began his career with UBS in 2002, moved to Morgan Stanley in 2008 and had been with Merrill since 2012, according to his BrokerCheck.
There are three settled client disputes disclosed on Ward’s BrokerCheck, the largest of which settled in 2008 for $183,000 after a claimant alleged unsuitability and unauthorized trading with losses “associated with a Lehman Brothers structured product” between 2005 and 2008. Ward in his broker comment denied the allegations and said the risks and benefits were “explained clearly” to the client, who he called a “highly sophisticated investor who knew what she was buying.”
At J.P. Morgan, Ward will report to regional director Cayman Wills and assistant regional manager Sean Cribbin, the spokesperson said.
“Keith is a talented advisor with a high-quality business,” Wills said in a prepared statement. “We know he’ll continue to succeed here and provide exceptional service to clients with support from the global resources of JPMorgan Chase.”
A Merrill Lynch spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment on the move.
J.P. Morgan Advisors last month said it had replaced its chief executive, tapping former Merrill executive Phil Sieg to lead the group, which includes around 450 brokers and itself has been aiming to hire around 50 high-end teams per year.
Also last month, a $3 million-producing J.P. Morgan Advisors duo in New York City left the firm for UBS Wealth Management USA.