Wire Wars: Trio of Merrill Michiganders Jumps to UBS
A 15-year veteran Merrill Lynch Wealth Management broker in Grosse Pointe, Michigan jumped to UBS Wealth Management USA on Sept. 17, bringing a four-year broker and wealth strategy associate with him but with a partner staying behind.
Kevin E. Butler, who started in the industry at Morgan Stanley in 2005 and joined Merrill one year later, had $216 million in client assets and $1.3 million in annual production, according to a source familiar with his practice. He had also been a producing manager overseeing the Grosse Pointe branch, according to his former Merrill website.
Staying behind on Merrill’s Grosse Pointe office team are two advisors and two client associates, including James Ricca, a 20-year veteran, who also had been at Morgan Stanley and moved at the same time as Butler. The two established a team, which was called the Butler Ricca Group, according to Merrill’s website. Ricca, reached by phone on Thursday, declined to comment on Butler’s departure.
A Merrill spokesperson also declined to comment on the move.
The path from Merrill to UBS has been well trod by brokers recently, after the home of the thundering herd withdrew from recruiting veteran brokers in 2017 and has refrained from jumping back into the fray despite a steady outflow of brokers that has continued throughout the pandemic.
UBS this month hauled in from Merrill a Portland, Maine team with $400 million in client assets and $1.9 in annual production. In July, it scooped up a New York City-based Merrill team with $1.45 billion in client assets and $11.2 million in annual production. And in March, a Garden City, Long Island Merrill advisor generating $7.1 million in annual revenue jumped to UBS.
UBS had 6,274 brokers, including several hundred in Latin America and Canada, at the end of June, down a net 31 over the second quarter, according to its Swiss parent’s most recent earnings report. Merrill no longer breaks out its headcount of traditional brokers as part of its parent Bank of America’s earnings.