ON THE MOVE-Wells adds two adviser teams from Merrill Lynch

April 25 Thu Apr 25, 2013 3:30pm EDT

April 25 (Reuters) - Wells Fargo & Co said on Thursday it added two veteran adviser practices from Bank of America Corp's Merrill Lynch to the company's independent brokerage division in the Seattle area.

The new recruits, which joined Wells in late March and mid-April, managed $549 million in combined client assets at Merrill. The advisers joined Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network, or "FiNet," which caters to independent advisers who also function as business owners.

Among the new hires, adviser Jim Butler Sr. and his two sons, Jim Butler Jr. And Neil Butler, joined Wells in Mercer Island, Washington. The senior Butler had been an adviser at Merrill for more than four decades before moving to Wells.

The advisers, together known as the Butler Wealth Management group, managed more than $356 million in client assets and had an annual revenue production of $1.3 million at Merrill.

Also on the move, advisers Teresa Brokaw, Don O'Neal and Trent O'Neal joined Wells in Lynnwood, Washington. Don O'Neal, who spent the bulk of his career at Merrill, started with the firm in 1980.

The advisers, known as the O'Neal & Brokaw Private Retirement Group, managed $193 million in client assets and last year generated $1.4 million in annual revenue.

Bank of America did not immediately return a request for comment on the departures.

San Francisco-based Wells Fargo & Co, which also has a traditional employee broker-dealer and banking division, has the third-largest U.S. brokerage by client assets, after Morgan Stanley Wealth Management and Merrill Lynch. UBS's brokerage business ranks fourth. The four companies often compete for similar teams of veteran advisers.

Wells' brokerage business, based in St. Louis, has more than 15,000 advisers with about $1.2 trillion in client assets among its brokerage subsidiaries. The company's independent division includes more than 560 practices.

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