Dec 11 Morgan Stanley Wealth Management lured two teams collectively managing nearly $400 million in client assets and producing $1.8 million of revenue from Bank of America's Merrill Lynch.
In Ithaca, New York, three advisers led by Richard Prybyl -who had been with Merrill for 26 years and generated $1.1 million of fees and commissions in the past year - made the move to Morgan Stanley on Dec. 7, according to the firm.
"It's a lot of work to move but we believe it will be a better place for our clients," said Prybyl, 57, who focuses much of his practice on retirement plans for individuals and companies. "We preferred not to work for a place that was a subsidiary of a bank."
Prybyl declined to elaborate, but some Merrill advisers have chafed at what they perceive as higher levels of bureaucracy and pressure to sell mortgages and other banking products since Bank of America bought Merrill Lynch in January 2009.
Prybyl's team includes 11-year Merrill veteran Richard Farr, Steve Headrick, who joined Merrill in 2010 and two sales assistants. Together, they oversaw $248 million of client assets at Merrill. They report to Dean Wallace, Morgan Stanley's Central-Eastern New York complex manager.
A week earlier, a three-person team headed by Nancy Buttweiler migrated to Morgan Stanley's St. Paul, Minnesota, office from Merrill, according to Morgan Stanley. She and her colleagues, Kristopher Schultz and David Peterson, had combined revenue in the previous 12 months of $1.3 million and oversaw $141 million of client assets, according to Morgan Stanley.
Buttweiler worked at Merrill for more than 30 years, according to records filed with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.
The team reports to St. Paul branch manager Michael Junker.
A Merrill Lynch spokeswoman declined to comment on the moves.
The moves occurred just before Merrill and Morgan Stanley unveiled their 2013 compensation packages for retail advisers. Both companies kept the revenue-based percentage payouts that brokers receive the same, but tweaked the formulas to reward those who sell more so-called annuitized fee products, such as loans.
Including these moves, at least 113 advisers or teams who had overseen a total of $16.6 billion of client assets joined Morgan Stanley this year, according to adviser moves tracked by Reuters. Another 236 advisers who managed more than $38.4 billion of client assets have left Morgan Stanley through mid-December.
Merrill Lynch has lost at least 180 advisers or teams managing about $28.5 billion in client assets and has hired at least 31 advisers managing more than $3.8 billion this year.
Reuters tracks the moves of individual advisers or teams that manage at least $100 million or more in client assets, which typically translates to $1 million or more in annual revenue production.