Wire Wars: Morgan Stanley Hires $500 Million-Asset Merrill Team in NJ
Morgan Stanley Wealth Management continues to flex its recruiting muscle at the expense of rival Merrill Lynch.
Todd C. Gray and Rosa M. Quartuci joined Morgan Stanley on Friday in Red Bank, New Jersey, along with client associate Janyve Almanzar last Friday, according to their BrokerCheck registration records.
Gray, who had spent all of his 27-year career at Merrill, and Quartuci, a 40-year broker with 26 years at the Thundering Herd, had been managing $500 million in client assets, according to a source familiar with their practice.
A spokeswoman at Morgan Stanley confirmed the hire but declined to discuss details of their practice. Gray and Quartuci, who had been based at Merrill’s historic “SD” (Sales Department) office in downtown Manhattan, did not return calls for comment.
A spokeswoman at Merrill did not return a request for comment.
The departures continue a steady exodus from the Bank of America-owned Merrill of veterans who have confidence they can persuade clients to follow them. Gray, 53, inherited his father’s practice and also had numerous clients from another now-retired partner, according to a second source familiar with the practice.
He began his brokerage career in late 1993 at Merrill, about a year before Quartuci joined from Lehman Brothers as a registered client associate. (She first became a broker in 1981 at Shearson Lehman Brothers, did a five-year stint at Janney Montgomery Scott, and was briefly at now-defunct Legend Merchant Group before rejoining Lehman for another four years in 1985.)
Since Morgan Stanley re-entered the recruiting market last year after about a three-year retreat coinciding with its withdrawal from the Protocol for Broker Recruiting, it has drawn heavily from Merrill. Last month it hired a pair of advisors producing about $2.6 million from Merrill in Maryland, and in December lured a solo producer in California who had won asset-growth accolades from its rival. In October, Morgan Stanley hired a 26-year Merrill lifer in a Chicago suburb who was generating more than $2 million.
Merrill Lynch remains a member of the Protocol, which allows brokers to take some client contact information with them when joining another Protocol firm. Morgan Stanley exited the pact in late 2017, saying small advisory firms were gaming the program.
Merrill Lynch no longer breaks out its number of branch-based wealth management brokers, making it difficult to track net losses or gains in its brokerage army. Its reported numbers include brokers from Bank of America and its mass affluent Merrill Edge channel.
On Friday, another Merrill team that was managing $1.3 billion and generating $4.6 million in revenue joined Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. in Dallas.
Morgan Stanley ended 2020 with 15,950 advisors—482 higher than 12 months earlier, though the total was bulked by some 200 brokers absorbed from its late 2020 purchase of discount broker E*Trade Financial.