December 1, 2014 / 10:11 PM / 4 years ago

ON THE MOVE-Merrill Lynch loses veteran 7-broker team to Raymond James

NEW YORK, Dec 1 (Reuters) - Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch lost a 34-year veteran broker and his six-person team to Raymond James & Associates last month, a spokeswoman for parent company Raymond James Financial confirmed on Monday.

The Spanos Group, headed by Samuel Spanos and including vice presidents Gennaro Marsico, Todd Todorich, Robert M. Lewis, George Kruth, Mark O’Leary and Joseph D. Thompson, generated $5 million in annual fees and commissions and managed $535 million in assets at Merrill Lynch.

Spanos, who joined Merrill Lynch in 1980, left on Nov. 17 to open a new office for Raymond James’ employee broker-dealer branch in Beaver, Pennsylvania.

Merrill Lynch did not immediately respond to request for comment. However, a woman reached at the Spanos Group’s former office confirmed the team left the firm for Raymond James.

Other than a few months in late December 2005 and early 2006 when Spanos was a branch manager for the brokerage Advest, Inc, as it was getting bought by Merrill Lynch, the Duquesne University graduate had spent his entire career in Merrill’s offices.

“The first 29 years I was there were great,” Spanos said, talking about Merrill Lynch before it merged with Bank of America. “I just believed that (Bank of America’s) goals and the goals of my clients were going in different directions.”

Spanos, who traces his roots in Beaver, Pennsylvania, to his grandfather’s arrival in the 1920s, said he chose Raymond James because the firm did not take money from the U.S. government’s Troubled Asset Relief Program, which many larger brokerages, including Merrill Lynch, did.

Spanos said he preferred Raymond James’ independence and consistent profitable returns.

Merrill Lynch, which had 14,000 brokers as of Sept. 30, has lost a number of established broker teams in recent months. The firm added more than 150 brokers to its work force in the last quarter. (Reporting by Elizabeth Dilts; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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