RayJay Bags $3.4-Mln Merrill Family Team As Texas Departures Mount
Another multi-million dollar Merrill Lynch team has left in Fort Worth, Texas, this time to Raymond James.
A family practice that is led by up-and-comer Christopher Beavers and had been generating $3.4 million in annual revenue resigned Friday morning to join Raymond James & Associates, the St. Petersburg, Florida firm’s employee broker unit, according to a well-placed source.
Beavers’ team also includes his father, Matthew, his wife, Emma, and two trainees, Hannah Peterson and Ryan Finglass. A senior member of the team, who is listed on their website, has retired, according to the source, who said the advisors had overseen a combined $400 million in customer assets.
Beavers, who began his career at Merrill 11 years ago, could not immediately be reached for comment. He had been ranked #61 in the state by Forbes this year with $450 million in assets and last year was #80 on its list of the top next-gen brokers.
The team reports to Raymond James’ North Texas-Arkansas complex manager Jeremy Silvas, who left Merrill in 2019 after managing a complex in Houston.
Attrition of experienced brokers at Merrill has been elevated in recent years and appears particularly acute in the Dallas market.
Last month, a $2 million-producing team led by 37-year lifer Stephen C. Ibarguen moved to Morgan Stanley, following the same path of a six-person team with $5.4 million in revenue, led by John Calandro III, that moved in May.
Also in June, independent firm Sanctuary Wealth hired a team with $1.22 billion in assets led by 32-year Merrill veteran Bradley Bruce. They report to another former Merrill manager, Vince Fertitta, who joined Sanctuary in 2019.
A spokesperson for Merrill did not return a request for comment.
Merrill Lynch Wealth Management President Andy Sieg has laid out a strategy of growth without recruiting that relies on training and tying compensation to new accounts but earlier this month acknowledged in a quarterly pre-recorded video to brokers that competitive attrition is an issue requiring focus from senior leadership. Attrition ticked up to 5% in the second quarter from a rate of 4% in the prior quarter, a spokesperson said.
Merrill has been stepping up defensive measures, including its deployment of “client experience” specialists who work to transition customers to new advisors when their broker leaves for another firm, and taking brokers to court over solicitation of bank-referred customers.
For its part, Raymond James Financial Chief Executive Paul Reilly on Thursday touted a revival in veteran broker recruiting after a two-quarter lag. The firm attracted a net 48 brokers in the last three months to its roster of around 3,400 employee brokers. The boost in part reflected sweetened recruiting offers that the regional began offering earlier this year after executives found it was being outbid by as much as 50% in some cases.
A spokesperson for Raymond James did not immediately return a request for comment.