Merrill Recruits Citi Private Banker in SF, Loses Teams to Janney, Sanctuary
Merrill Lynch Wealth Management followed through on a senior executive’s comments last week that it planned to focus on hiring veteran brokers in key markets in coming months and on Friday plucked a veteran private banker from Citi in San Francisco.
Butler, a Navy veteran who was not registered as a broker before joining Citi but previously worked for almost two years as a sales director with BNY Mellon, according to an online biography, did not return a request for comment.
“With the breadth of capabilities Bank of America and Merrill bring together, there’s no better place for wealth management professionals to comprehensively serve clients, and grow their businesses,” Don Plaus, the head of Merrill’s private wealth, international and institutional businesses, said in a statement.
A Merrill spokesman declined to comment on the size of the banker’s team or practice, which was reported in the publication “Barron’s” as managing $17 billion, including family office money. The firm’s private wealth group includes around 200 teams focusing on ultra-wealthy clients.
Citi has historically exempted its bankers from the Protocol for Broker Recruiting pact, which allows brokers to contact more easily their former clients when moving among signatory firms. The bank did not immediately comment on the departure.
In contrast with commission-based wirehouse recruits, private bankers, who are typically paid a combination of salary and bonus, can sometimes be more challenging hires because their customer assets are often more tied in with the bank through corporate relationships, trusts, loans and other services, recruiters have said.
The hire comes as a senior Merrill executive said last week the brokerage plans to selectively hire veteran brokers in 10 key markets such as San Francisco and Florida. Those remarks struck recruiters and internal sources as an effort to augment its core strategy of internal growth programs with a handful of high profile hires after a three-year retrenchment.
In the other direction, a duo of Merrill Lynch lifers managing $1.35 billion in client assets in Towson, Maryland, left the wirehouse on Friday for Janney Montgomery Scott, according to an announcement Monday from the Philadelphia-based firm.
Andrew F. Meredith and Kevin M. Lindung made the move after having each spent their entire 23-year careers with the Thundering Herd. The team, which includes client associate Scott Kelly, had generated about $3 million in annual revenue at Merrill, according to a source familiar with their practice.
Among teams hired by Janney in the last five years, Meredith Lindung Wealth Management is the largest by asset size and is within the top five in terms of production, a Janney spokesman said.
Meredith, who ranked 13th on Forbes’ Best-in-State Wealth Advisors list in 2021, said in a prepared statement they were attracted by the smaller size and “flexibility to grow our practice and meet changing client demographics and needs.”
Meredith and Lindung declined to comment when reached at their new office Monday.
Janney, which has around 850 brokers, according to its website, last month hired a veteran Merrill Lynch broker and his team managing $320 million in client assets in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. In October, it hired a Merrill broker managing $300 million in Richmond, Virginia, who had been with the wirehouse all but two of his 25 years in the industry.
Merrill and Janney are both members of the Protocol for Broker Recruiting, which allows brokers to contact their former clients when moving among signatory firms.
Separately, Merrill lost, also on Friday, a $2.1 million-producing team in Southbury, Connecticut to Sanctuary Wealth, an independent broker-dealer launched in 2018 and led by former Merrill Lynch manager Jim Dickson.
Green Wealth Management Group, led by advisors Alan C. Green, Lori A. DosSantos and Andrew D. Heatley, had managed $350 million in client assets at Merrill, according to an announcement. They are the sixth team this year to join the Indianapolis, Indiana-based firm, which recapitalized in November with a $50 million investment from Italian asset manager Azimut Group.
Green and DosSantos, both of whom are 22-year industry veterans, had been with Merrill since 2010 and 2012, respectively, according to their BrokerCheck reports.
Green, who started his brokerage career in 1998 with New England Securities, had initially joined Merrill Lynch in 2000 but left for a stint with Wells Fargo Advisors in 2006. DosSantos started her career in 1998 with First Union Brokerage Services, Inc. and worked at Wells Fargo Advisors from 2000 to 2012. Heatley had joined Merrill in 2011, according to the database.
The advisors were joined in the move by operations manager Eva Goutzos and client associate Jane Stock.
Sanctuary, which is also a signatory to the Protocol, last month added a three-broker, $1.7 million-producing Merrill Lynch team in North Carolina.
A spokeswoman for Merrill did not return a request for comment on those departures, or others that occurred the same day, when a $2.2 million Merrill team joined Rockefeller in Michigan.