Jones Loses $1.3 Mln Producer to Wells Indie Firm, Merrill Brokers Join RBC
While return-to-normal work routines remain in flux amid the coronavirus crisis, brokers continue to forge ahead with their major re-affiliation plans.
On Friday, an advisor who spent his 21-year career at Edward Jones in southern California, moved with his two branch administrators to join a large independent brokerage practice affiliated with Wells Fargo Financial Network.
Masoner investigated six other broker-dealers and registered investment advisor groups before opting to leave the Jones shelter for independence, he said.
“It allows us to be able to do discretionary trades,” he said, without elaborating on constrictions he felt, “to be able to do things quickly, especially in the COVID environment that we have right now.”
TSG Wealth Management, which generated $21 million in the previous 12 months, has 50 employees in four offices with Masoner’s arrival, said Allen Schreiber, a partner. It plans to expand to San Diego and Las Vegas by the end of the year, he said.
“The combination of our 65% payout and independence has created a lot of demand,” Schreiber said.
Separately, RBC Wealth Management -U.S. has reached into Merrill Lynch in recent weeks for two teams who were managing about $340 million in combined client assets in New Jersey and Massachusetts.
Robert Clear and Patrick Maguire joined the Royal Bank of Canada wealth unit last Thursday in Florham Park.. They had been overseeing $180 million in client assets at Merrill, according to an RBC spokesman.
Clear, a 41-year industry veteran who was a Merrill first vice president, began his brokerage career in 1979 at Lehman Brothers before joining UBS in 1996 and Merrill in 2011, according to his BrokerCheck history. Maguire began his nine-year brokerage career at Merrill, and was an assistant vice president on the team.
The brokers, both of whom are certified financial planners, did not return calls for comment on their motivations for switching.
The RBC spokesman said they were attracted by the bank’s “strong credit rating,” without elaborating. (S&P and Fitch rate Royal Bank of Canada’s long-term debt a notch higher than they do Bank of America, though Moody’s grades each A2.)
In Wellesley, Mass., RBC hired solo practitioner Sanford ‘Sandy’ Pegram from Merrill on July 23, along with a client associate. Pegram was managing $159 million in client assets, the spokesman said.
Following his registration as a rep in 1980 at Kidder, Peabody & Co., Pegram has worked at ten firms, according to his BrokerCheck history. He joined Merrill seven years ago, after five years with Wells Fargo Advisors.
In a prepared statement, Pegram wrote that he chose RBC for its “client-focused, advisor-centric culture and ease of doing business.
RBC, which has about 2,000 U.S. brokers, has been relatively active in its pandemic-era recruiting.
In late July it reached into Sanford C. Bernstein & Co.’s San Francisco branch to hire William Grayson, a family office specialist who was overseeing $750 million in client assets. RBC also hired 14-year broker Craig Bowden in Charleston, West Virginia, from BB&T Bank on July 29, and 16-year UBS broker Lisa Byrne one day later in Minneapolis. They were managing about $77 million and $56 million in client assets, respectively.
Earlier in the month, RBC recruited a Wells Fargo Advisors broker in Dallas who was managing $370 million. That followed its June hires of 35-year industry veteran Mark Bilski from UBS, where he was reportedly producing more than $7 million, and of a Morgan Stanley group in St. Louis managing $500 million.
Notwithstanding the RBC moves, many firms that had been aggressive recruiters in recent years said activity has been slowed by the pandemic.
“The net addition of financial advisors was low relative to recent quarters as the COVID-19 pandemic impacted experienced financial advisor transitions, particularly in the employee channel due to office closures, and slowed the transitions of new trainees,” Raymond James Financial reported in its 10-Q regulatory filing on Friday.
While financial advisor recruiting activity has started to recover and the pipeline remains solid, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on future recruiting is uncertain.”
Florida-based Raymond James added just seven advisors in the April-June period, including three in its employee channel and four in its independent one. As of June 30, it had 8,155 advisers—up 144 from a year earlier.
Merrill and UBS have retreated from the aggressive recruiting of veteran advisors in recent years.
Merrill has instead been tailoring its deals to early-career advisors with offers of five-year guaranteed salaries supplemented by grid-based production payouts. UBS has been hiring commercial bank-based brokers to fill seats and says it will make exceptions to its recruiting budget restrictions with the occasional hiring of $5-million-and-up producers.