Merrill Lifer and His $4.4-Mln Alabama Team Jump to Morgan Stanley
Morgan Stanley’s revived recruiting efforts continue to bear fruit as it has hired another multi-million dollar team from its wirehouse competitor Merrill Lynch.
His team at Merrill had managed roughly $1.3 billion in assets and generated $4.4 million in annual revenue, the person said. The group also includes Runkle’s son, Robert Runkle Jr., his daughter, Mary Runkle Smith, and two client associates, according to their team page.
The team is now doing business as The Runkle Group and maintains a second office in Atlanta and an outpost in Destin, Florida, according to its Morgan Stanley website and registration records.
Reached at his Montgomery office on Tuesday, Runkle declined to comment on the move.
Spokespeople for Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch did not respond to requests for comment.
Runkle, a Barron’s “Top 1,200 Financial Advisor” from 2014 to 2020, was also named the top advisor in Alabama in four of those years. At Merrill, he was designated a Global Institutional Consultant to assist institutional client accounts topping $50 million, according to his former firm’s biography.
Runkle Jr., who joined Merrill in 2012, and Runkle Smith, who joined Merrill in 2018, work out of Atlanta, according to BrokerCheck
Heath Henig, a third advisor on Runkle’s team at Merrill, who joined in 2016 from Synovus Securities, is not listed on the team’s new website with Morgan Stanley, nor is a third client associate.
Henig, who has been a broker for 22 years and remains registered with Merrill, according to BrokerCheck, did not return a call for comment.
Morgan Stanley has made Merrill a frequent target since stepping up its recruiting efforts in 2020 after a two-year retreat. The wirehouse earlier this month scooped up a longtime Merrill team in New Jersey that had been managing $500 million. In January, it lured away two Merrill lifers in Maryland who were generating $2.6 million in annual revenue.
Morgan Stanley was on the losing end of a trade last week, however, as a team generating $3.9 million in New Jersey left for Wells Fargo Advisors.
Morgan Stanley ended 2020 with 15,950 advisors—482 higher than 12 months earlier, though the total was bulked by some 200 brokers absorbed from its late 2020 purchase of discount broker E*Trade Financial.
Merrill Lynch, which has stood by a recruiting freeze it implemented in 2017, no longer breaks out its number of branch-based wealth management brokers, which are combined with brokers from Bank of America and its mass affluent Merrill Edge channel.
It also on Friday lost a team generating $2.5 million in annual revenue to Rockefeller Capital Management in Colorado and a senior manager in its private wealth unit, Brett Thelander, who is expected to join Rockefeller after a three-month garden leave.