Merrill Lifers Producing $9 Mln Join Rockefeller in NJ, San Francisco
(Updated with information about $3-million Merrill team in San Francisco who joined Rockefeller Friday afternoon.)
Rockefeller Capital Management on Friday morning hired two advisors who had cumulatively spent their 40-year retail brokerage careers at Merrill Lynch, and whose ten-person team produced $6 million on about $750 million of client assets.
Later, in the afternoon, Rockefeller landed a husband-and-wife Merrill team in San Francisco who were generating $3 million on about $275 million of assets, said people familiar with their books.
Together with the five-person San Francisco group, which is led by Ann R Wang, Rockefeller has attracted 33 teams of about 55 advisors since it was recapitalized in 2017. Three have joined this month from Merrill, including another another $6-million team of four advisors in Dallas.
Seven groups have transferred “virtually” in the past two months because of coronavirus social-distancing constrictions. Rockefeller CEO Greg Fleming, a former president of Merrill Lynch and former head of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, has filled the firm’s ranks primarily with wirehouse brokers and managers.
All members of the Linker-Hodges team in New Jersey, except for founder Kevin J. Ward, made the move from Merrill’s Paramus branch. Ward, who has worked at Merrill for his entire 38-year career, is listed on his team’s Merrill website as a “senior consultant,” implying that he is semi-retired.
He did not return a call for comment on whether he participates in Merrill’s client transition program. It guarantees payouts to veteran advisors as they shift into retirement, and is being reformulated to, in part, sweeten compensation for inheriting advisors as of November 2021.
Merrill spokespeople did not respond to requests for comment about the move or about Ward’s status. Linker referred calls for comment on motivations for his move to Rockefeller officials.
Linker joined Merrill in 1997 after running a commodities trading exchange floor for Oppenheimer, according to a biographical sketch on his new Rockefeller site. Hodges, who qualified last year as a Forbes “Top 250 Next-Generation Wealth Advisor” and as a “Best-in-New Jersey Wealth Advisor,” joined Merrill Lynch Wealth Management in 2002, and runs the team’s business operations and client relationship management, according to his former Merrill web biography.
John Rapport, the team’s third advisor, began his brokerage career in 2010 at Merrill. Other members of the team include Susan Lopresti, a trust and estate specialist, associate private wealth advisor Scott N. Breckenridge, analyst relationship managers Tracy Broderick and Anna M. Sama, and client associates Jeannette L. Murillo, Adi Mercado, and Aimee Iorio.
In San Francisco, Wang left Merrill’s 555 California Street branch in San Francisco after more than 10 years as a producing broker. She joined Rockefeller with her husband, Jamie Durrani, a former Wells Fargo banker who partnered with his wife as a broker at Merrill almost eight years ago, according to his Merrill web biography.
Wang, who Forbes ranked #279 on its 2020 list of “top women advisors,” joined Merrill in 2004, and ran the branch’s new-advisor training program before turning to production, according to her Merrill biography.
They joined with three client and administrative associates—Rebecca Auster, Summer Macallister and June Mee Kim. The team is the first to join Rockefeller in northern California since Brian Riley arrived in April to replace an earlier hire from Merrill who was running the San Francisco branch. Riley, a former recruiter at First Republic, worked at Merrill for 19 years and was in charge of its Northwest region’s private banking and investment group of high-end brokers when he left in 2015 for First Republic.
Rockefeller fueled its early growth under Fleming by offering top producers equity in the firm, which is backed by private equity investor Viking Global Management. Those deals have faded, according to several headhunters and sources, but the firm continues to offer competitive signing arrangements that can reach 200% of trailing 12-month revenue at the upper levels, they said.