Merrill Hires Morgan Stanley Manager in Wealthy New York Suburbs
Advisor recruiting is on ice at Merrill Lynch, but managers are still in play.
The company on Friday lured Dufresne “Didi” Nicolas, a Morgan Stanley branch manager who has been featured in its diversity commitment marketing, to help run five offices in an affluent market north of New York City.
Nicolas, who had been managing a Morgan Stanley branch in Poughkeepsie, NY, joined Merrill as associate market executive for White Plains, which includes branches in suburban Westchester County and southern Connecticut. Two recruiters said the role positions him as an up-and-comer in the organization.
Nicolas and a Merrill Lynch spokeswoman confirmed his wirehouse-to-wirehouse jump, but declined further comment. Merrill a year ago halted recruiting of experienced advisors, joining rivals UBS and Morgan Stanley in substituting retention and growth programs for expensive recruiting.
Nicolas reports to market executive Craig Young, who Merrill shifted to White Plains earlier this year from Pasadena, Calif., after promoting Matthew Grossman to manage its “flagship” Fifth Avenue branch in Manhattan.
For Morgan Stanley, the loss is the second in a month of a young, black manager. Chris Fils, 31, who was running its Los Gatos branch in San Francisco moved to head Raymond James & Associate’s “Suncoast Complex” in southwest Florida in early May.
Nicolas began his brokerage career at PaineWebber Inc. in 1993, a year after receiving his undergraduate degree, according to his LinkedIn profile. He also did stints at Prudential Securities and UBS Financial Services before joining Morgan Stanley in 2005, according to BrokerCheck.
He shifted into sales management in 2007 at Morgan Stanley’s Ridgewood, N.J., office, progressing to business development officer at three complexes and national training officer at the Morgan Stanley Wealth headquarters prior to running the Poughkeepsie complex in Rockland County, NY, according to his biography on a company website.
A spokeswoman for Morgan Stanley confirmed the departure but declined further comment.