Rockefeller Hires $2.5-Mln Merrill Team in CO, RBC Nabs Million-Dollar IL Producer
Two aggressive recruiters, Rockefeller Capital Management and RBC Wealth Management-U.S., landed brokers from Merrill Lynch in Colorado and Illinois last week.
Richeda had spent all but a rookie year of his career at Merrill while Farr began his brokerage career at Merrill in 2011, according to BrokerCheck. They report to Michael Armondo, a former Dallas complex manager for Merrill Lynch who runs Rockefeller’s Central Division.
They are Rockefeller’s first team in Colorado and the 45th that the former family office of the Standard Oil founders has hired since it was recapitalized with an investment in 2018 from venture capital Viking Global Investors.
Rockefeller has leaned on Merrill as it has expanded in the Midwest. It planted a flag in Chicago in October with a $550 million-asset team from Merrill and followed that up with another former Merrill group managing $300 million in January.
Separately, RBC Wealth on Thursday hired a solo practitioner, Christopher J. Collins, from Merrill Lynch in the Chicago suburb of Buffalo Grove. Collins, who had started at Merrill in 2011 after working as an analyst and portfolio manager for a fund company, was generating just over $1 million in annual revenue on around $172 million in client assets, he confirmed in an interview.
Collins said that he was “saddened” to leave but had been increasingly frustrated by Merrill’s push for advisors to sell more banking services such as credit cards and loans from its Bank of America parent. He estimated that he could increase his productivity by 30% at RBC, which he said was more “wealth management-focused” and would give him more flexibility to focus on portfolio management.
“My clients are not overly absorbed with what credit card they use when they swipe to buy something,” he said. “They’re more focused on their finances, and if I am protecting and growing them.”
While Collins said he had typically avoided recruiter calls prior to last year, the Covid-19 pandemic was an “inflection point” that prompted him to re-evaluate his business and accelerate his plans. He also wanted the flexibility to go into his office after Merrill had closed branches last year to non-essential personnel to limit the spread of the virus.
“I was very vocal about that,” Collins said, speaking from his RBC branch. “We have to be a ‘can-do’ culture. That’s why I came to Merrill, and locally we were a ‘can-do’ culture, but local [management] is not able to set policy.”
Merrill had initially been more restrictive than some competitors who had allowed offices to remain open at limited capacity, but it has been loosening its client meeting and prospecting restrictions in recent months to allow brokers in certain markets to go into the office to meet with clients with prior approval, according to people familiar with its policies.
Merrill management last week opened up his market to pre-approved client meetings, but Collins said the process still made it difficult to take meetings.
A Merrill spokeswoman did not immediately return a request for comment on the moves. Merrill in 2017 halted its veteran broker recruiting efforts to focus on grooming more advisors through its training program and has supplemented that effort with some novice or bank-based hires.