Merrill Loses Top-Ranked New York, New Jersey Brokers to UBS and RIA
Merrill Lynch has lost two top-ranked brokers in metropolitan New York City, extending a round of recent departures.
Sobel, whose shift occurred on March 19, according to his BrokerCheck profile, moved with junior brokers Hamish Grason and Nicholas Gonzalez, and with his team’s business manager, Wilson Lee.
Sobel, a 17-year industry veteran, did not return a call for comment. His team reports to Bob Sorrentino, the head of UBS’s New York City private wealth market serving ultra-high-net-worth investors.
“Brandon and his team have built an impressive practice focused on serving founders, entrepreneurs and corporate executives in the technology space,” Sorrentino said in a prepared statement.
UBS is the third wirehouse sojourn for Sobel, who worked for six-and-a-half years at Morgan Stanley through the end of 2013 and who joined Merrill in October 2016. He first registered as a securities representative in 2002 at Fahnestock & Co., and also did stints at Greenpoint Securities, and bank-owned firms North Fork Financial and Chase Investment Services Corp., according to his BrokerCheck record, which has no disclosures.
In the other move of a Forbes-ranked Merrill broker, Robert A. Bezzone has joined Transcend Wealth Collective, a New Jersey RIA co-founded in 2019 by an ex-Merrill complex manager.
Bezzone, who Forbes ranks as #106 in New York with $192 million in client assets, moved to the Short Hills, N.J. firm on March 22, according to BrokerCheck.
Transcend was launched in 2019 by James P. Hughes, a 21-year Merrill veteran, and a $4 million team of UBS advisors, with backing from former New York Stock Exchange Chief Executive Duncan Niederauer and Blackstone leveraged debt trader James Didden.
The RIA expanded to Michigan in September with the hire of a Merrill team managing $350 million in assets. Transcend manages $2.1 billion in 2,609 accounts, according to its ADV.
Bezzone, who retains his brokerage license through independent broker Purshe Kaplan Sterling Investments, began his career at New Jersey’s Financial Northeastern Securities in 1991, and also worked at Prudential Securities, Citigroup Smith Barney and Wells Fargo before joining Merrill in 2013, according to BrokerCheck.
A spokesperson at Merrill Lynch did not immediately return a request for comment about the departures.
The wirehouse withdrew from recruiting veteran brokers in 2017 and has refrained from jumping back into the fray despite a steady outflow of brokers that has continued throughout the pandemic. A North Carolina team with $1.7 million in production left last week for Sanctuary Wealth, another independent firm founded by a former Merrill manager and larded with Thundering Herd brokers.