Merrill Continues Its Texas Management Shuffle
Merrill Lynch Wealth Management on Thursday plugged in a senior-level field management hole, shifting an experienced complex manager in California to run its Dallas-based “Texas Mountain South” division.
Carole Wentz, whose 23-year Merrill career has taken her from managing branches in Atlanta, Nashville, St. Louis and, most recently, Orange County, was named to the new post on Thursday, a spokesman confirmed. She is one of six regional managers who oversee Merrill’s army of more than 15,000 brokers.
Wentz replaces Vince Fertitta, who vacated the Texas divisional role in February and remains with the firm in as-yet undesignated position, the spokesman said.
Merrill and other large firms are increasingly dependent on strong and loyal senior managers at a time when the block-and-tackle functions of branch and complex managers are in flux. Their principal responsibilities have been shifting from recruiting successful brokers from competitors and smoothing operational impediments to improving retention rates and convincing advisers to switch from being investment jockeys for clients to broad-based planners selling the lending as well as investment services of their parent bank companies.
Michael A. Rogers, who was head of Merrill’s private wealth advisors for very wealthy customers in the Mountain West, resigned last week to join Deutsche Bank’s U.S. private bank. Merrill Lynch Wealth’s complex manager for its Dallas offices, Michael Armondo, also left this month and is taking a position with Rockefeller Capital (which is headed by former Merrill Lynch President Greg Fleming).
Wentz’s move leaves a hole at the three offices with some 165 advisers that she had been overseeing in southern California since 2014, according to her LinkedIn profile. The Merrill spokesman said a replacement has not yet been named.
Over her career—which her LinkedIn profile says included serving as national sales manager in 2010 and 2011—Wentz has been a valuable utility infielder, said recruiting sources who have worked with her.
Her odyssey including working in Texas from 2003 through 2005, where she launched the firm’s “professional women’s network” in the region. She was associate director of the Atlanta Buckhead complex in 2005, director of the Nashville-Memphis complex in 2007 and director of the St. Louis metro complex from 2011 though 2014, prior to moving to California.
Wentz, who spent less than a year at the start of her career in 1994 with American Express’s broker-dealer (now Ameriprise) prior to joining Merrill, did not respond to a request for comment. Merrill expanded her Orange County role last summer, adding branches in Newport Beach to her oversight.