RBC, Stifel Add Merrill Lifers in NY, NM
RBC Wealth Management-U.S. and Stifel Financial’s Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. hired this week career Merrill Lynch brokers who had each spent around a quarter century with the “Thundering Herd.”
The team is led by Michael J. Meehan, who started his brokerage career at Merrill in 1995, according to his former firm’s biography.
“Merrill was Mike’s first job out of college and he’s been there ever since,” the bio states.
The broker, who joined RBC’s branch in Jericho, along with advisors Michael H. Meyers and Kevin K. Clark and client associate Lori Battista, did not return a call to his new office seeking a comment.
He said in a prepared statement that the “challenges” of the pandemic had prompted the team’s move.
“After the many challenges of last year, we felt now was a good time for a fresh start,” Meehan said.
Meyers started his career at Merrill in 2013, after working for three years on the fixed income desk at Piper Jaffray, according to his BrokerCheck record and Merrill bio.
Clark started as a broker at Smith Barney in 1995, moved to Merrill the same year but left in 2000 to join UBS Financial Services, according to the database.
Between 2006 and 2014, he worked as a trader with RBC Professional Traders Group and his own firm before returning to the retail brokerage industry with Merrill, according to his former firm’s biography.
Separately, a 24-year Merrill Lynch lifer in Las Cruces, New Mexico left on Wednesday to open Stifel, Nicolaus & Co,’s second office in the state, the St. Louis firm said.
Paul R. Bridgers, who had generated $1.3 million in annual revenue and managed $117 million in client assets at Merrill, according to a source familiar with his practice, moved along with Tina Avelar, a client associate.
Bridgers joined Merrill in 1996 and had been a senior resident director at the firm for more than a decade, according to the source and BrokerCheck.
Stifel in September established a presence in New Mexico with the addition of a $1.75 million-producing husband-and-wife team from UBS Wealth Management USA in Santa Fe.
A spokesperson for Merrill did not return a request for comment.
Merrill Lynch retreated from veteran broker recruiting in 2017 to focus on promoting internal growth, but a senior executive said earlier this month that his firm is focusing on hiring seasoned brokers in some key markets, such as San Francisco and Florida, in what recruiters read as a sign it may be dipping a toe back into the market.
Merrill followed up those comments with the hire on Friday of a longtime private banker in San Francisco who is expected to officially join after a garden leave from Citibank.
Bank of America no longer breaks out the total number of advisors in its core Merrill wealth management business, which it now combines into an overall number of 20,000, including its Merrill Edge mass affluent consumer bankers and its private banking business.
The same senior executive, who asked to remain anonymous, said that Merrill’s attrition rate is around 4%, flat year-over-year, and that 80% of brokers who have left had joined Merrill from another firm, which implies they are serial jumpers.