Top Utah Advisor’s $10.7-Mln Team Decamps from Merrill for Morgan Stanley
A massive Merrill Lynch team in Provo, Utah, led by the state’s top-ranked financial advisor, has departed the wirehouse for rival Morgan Stanley, according to sources familiar with the move.
Runia, who joined his father at Merrill in 2006 after graduating from Brigham Young University, oversaw roughly $2.95 billion in client assets and generated nearly $10.7 million in annual revenue, according to registration records and the Financial Planning list. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment sent via social media.
A spokeswoman for Morgan Stanley confirmed the hire but declined further comment.
The Runia team’s move marks another big-name departure from the Thundering Herd, which stopped hiring seasoned brokers in 2017 in favor of in-house growth programs. It comes after Merrill President Andy Sieg said last month he is focused on the issue of “competitive attrition.” In another large private wealth move, Merrill last month saw an $11.2-million private wealth team in New York City head to UBS.
A Merrill spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment on attrition or the Runia team’s move.
Runia’s father, R. Scott Runia, a 36-year lifer at Merrill who retired in 2019 through Merrill’s Client Transition Program, is also expected to rejoin the team at Morgan Stanley, according to a source close to the team.
The elder Runia had left Merrill in order to serve a three-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Australia, Dane Runia said in a 2019 interview with Financial Planning. Scott could not be reached for comment on his plans or whether any non-compete agreements he had signed in the CTP remain in effect.
Runia’s team at Merrill included three client associates, an investment management specialist and a senior business manager, according to the former team’s webpage.
“Our team has been with Merrill since 1982 – a continuity that heightens our effectiveness in getting things done,” Dane Runia wrote on his LinkedIn profile. “We’re skilled in anticipating the issues that business owners, entrepreneurs, executives, professional athletes, and nonprofit institutions encounter.”
The move also underscores Morgan Stanley’s aggressive hiring, bolstered by offers that recruiters have said reach 325% of trailing-12 revenue for top talent, including upfront and deferred bonuses.
Many of Morgan Stanley’s recent recruiting wins have come at Merrill’s expense, including a 27-year lifer in Washington D.C. who had led a $4.5 million-producing team with a stock plan focus, and a $3-million team led by a producing manager in Sea Girt, New Jersey.
Meanwhile, Merrill has been strengthening its client retention efforts, including seeking temporary restraining orders against defecting brokers and deploying teams of “client experience specialists” to call customers after their broker exits to introduce them to a new Merrill new broker and offer fee discounts.