Biggest advisor moves of 2019: $62B in mega recruits

The stats alone are impressive. More than 20 mega teams — those managing $1 billion or more in assets — switched firms last year.

Those advisors collectively oversaw more than $62 billion in client assets, representing big gains for their new employers and tough losses for their former firms.

The biggest group of winners were regional BDs, which picked up more than a dozen big advisors. These new hires oversaw more than $12 billion in assets, according to their new employers. RBC, for example, hired one of the largest teams: a former UBS duo that managed $7.5 billion in client assets.

More often than not, the wirehouses were on the losing side of these moves. Forty advisors overseeing more than $32 billion left the big four for greener pastures.

Scroll through to see where the industry biggest teams migrated in 2019.

Raymond James 2
Raymond James scores big UBS team
Raymond James scooped up a former UBS team that managed $990 million in client assets, according to the firm.

The firm’s newest recruits operate as SPG Fiduciary Partners and signed on with the company’s employee channel in Bethesda, Maryland. The group is comprised of Arun Sardana, Adam Proger, Paul Grambsch and Reilly Loflin. In addition to private clients, the team also serves institutional clients.

The quartet had $1.6 billion in assets under advisement at UBS, according to their new employer.

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Signage stands on display outside the JPMorgan & Chase Tower in downtown Chicago, Illinois, U.S., on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017.  AKA J.P. Morgan.
Merrill Lynch loses $1B team to J.P. Morgan Securities
A team that managed $1 billion in client assets quit Merrill Lynch to join J.P. Morgan Securities.

Financial advisors Christopher Andrews, Jacob Robert Webb, David Luther signed on with J.P. Morgan Securities in Palm Beach, Florida, where they report to regional director Rick Penafiel.

In a statement, Andrews said his team switched to J.P. Morgan Securities for the firm’s resources and “long history of providing holistic wealth management services to high-net-worth families, business owners and foundations.”

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Taxi cabs pass in front of Morgan Stanley headquarters in New York, U.S., on Thursday, July 12, 2018. Morgan Stanley is scheduled to release earnings figures on July 18. Photographer: Bess Adler/Bloomberg
$1B team jumps to Morgan Stanley
Morgan Stanley recruited a billion-dollar team from J.P. Morgan Securities, showing that while the wirehouse may have cut back on overall hiring it continues to selectively pick up top talent.

Advisors Mario Lamar and Carlos Bonzon joined Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management and operate from two locations: Miami and New York. A company spokeswoman confirmed they joined the wirehouse this week.

Lamar and Bonzon were both ranked on Forbes’ 2019 Best-in-State Wealth Advisors, and listed as having team assets of $1 billion. They serve ultrahigh-net-worth clients. Forbes described the duo’s average client size as $25 to $50 million.

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$1B team returns to Morgan Stanley after 10 year UBS interlude
Jevin Ferguson and Daniel Marks now work at Morgan Stanley’s office in Newport Beach, California. They oversaw approximately $1 billion, according to Forbes’ best-in-state advisor ranking.

Ferguson and Marks have 18 and 19 years of industry experience, respectively, according to FINRA BrokerCheck. They had been registered with UBS since 2009, having previously worked at Smith Barney.

Marks started his career at Morgan Stanley in 1999, according to BrokerCheck.
A photo of the team at Seyle Hickey Wealth Management. From left: Tim Hickey, Kristin DeLong, Rusty Seyle, Alison Ehret, Marisa Gurnari. Photo courtesy Raymond James.
Raymond James snaps up $1B team from Merrill
Raymond James picked up a Merrill Lynch team that managed roughly $1 billion in client assets and generated $3.6 million in annual revenue.

Raymond James has been aggressively recruiting for several years — including pushes into the West Coast and Northeast, where it traditionally had fewer advisors. The addition of Seyle Hickey Wealth Management, based in Allentown, Pennsylvania, further enlarges its footprint in the Northeast.

Advisors William “Rusty” Seyle and Tim Hickey spent 27 and 24 years, respectively, at Merrill, according to FINRA BrokerCheck records.

To read about the move, click here.
Bruce Tenenbaum Headshot.jpg
Rockefeller recruits $1B UBS team for new office
Bruce Tenenbaum and Andy Lam opened a new wealth management office for Rockefeller in San Francisco where they will cater to ultrahigh-net-worth clients, according to the firm.

Rockefeller has focused on poaching top talent from Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and UBS.

Tenenbaum had been with UBS since 2009, having previously worked at Goldman Sachs. Lam joined him at the wirehouse in 2014, after serving as a financial analyst intern with Morgan Stanley.

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Wells Fargo bank logo at dusk Bloomberg News
$1B team defection from Wells Fargo is big win for indie firm
A team responsible for $1 billion in client assets quit Wells Fargo to join a smaller rival, AdvicePeriod.

Jackie Lewis and Ryan Goldenhar joined the independent firm, which has more than two dozen advisors operating out of 13 offices.

Lewis and Goldenhar had worked at Wells Fargo’s private bank as a financial advisor and investment strategist since 2004 and 2006, respectively, according to their LinkedIn profiles and BrokerCheck records. They cited AdvicePeriod’s resources as a reason for the move, according to a statement.

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Toby Ardoyno, Stifel’s newest hire, started his career at Merrill Lynch in 1999.
Stifel nabs billion-dollar Merrill Lynch team
Stifel opened a Fort Worth, Texas branch staffed by two former Merrill Lynch advisors who oversaw approximately $1 billion in combined client assets.

Toby Ardoyno started his career at Merrill Lynch in 1999.

His colleague Toni Rose joined the wirehouse from Cetera in 2014. A third advisor, Blake Furgerson, made the move with the team, a Stifel spokesman confirmed. Furgerson has five years of industry experience, according to BrokerCheck.

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Meg Sheil-Puopolo Verdence Capital financial advisor sitting photo
Ex-HighTower RIA recruits $1.2B advisor from Fidelity
An advisor who oversaw $1.2 billion joined Verdence Capital, a $2 billion RIA with ambitious growth plans.

Meg Sheil-Puopolo, who previously worked at Fidelity Investments, joined Verdence in Baltimore where she will serve high-net-worth clients and families.

Sheil-Puopolo says she was drawn to Verdence because of its resources, corporate environment, fiduciary status and the opportunity to be part of something “growing from the ground up.” She knew of the firm because of her friendship with the firm’s COO.

“I met with the team and I was really impressed with them and their unique way of planning. It’s really collaborative,” she says.

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Wells Fargo V3 by Bloomberg News
$1.5B team quits Wells Fargo for First Republic
First Republic landed a former Wells Fargo team that was responsible for approximately $1.5 billion in private client and institutional assets.

The new hires — advisors George Fuchs, David Schulman, Gregory Carafello and Chad Cohen — joined First Republic in New York last week.

Fuchs and Schulman are industry veterans, with 21 and 22 years of experience, respectively. They had been registered with Wells Fargo since 2008, according to FINRA BrokerCheck. They both have past work experience at Smith Barney and Dean Witter.

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Wells Fargo loses more brokers to First Republic
First Republic picked up a four-person team from Wells Fargo.

Peter Morimoto, Jon Jewitt, and Roy Elliott Jr. joined First Republic’s San Diego office as managing directors. Marena Tufenkjian joined as a vice president and wealth manager. The firm did not disclose the team’s AUM.

Wells Fargo has suffered from advisor attrition since a phony accounts scandal came to light in 2016. The bank reported that broker headcount fell below 14,000 at the end of the fourth quarter.

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Kevin Curtis Summit Trail Advisors
Summit Trail lands $1.5B team to open new office
Summit Trail Advisors, an RIA founded by former Barclays advisors catering to ultrawealthy clients, expanded its reach with a new office and the addition of a team that managed $1.5 billion.

The group, led by former Wilmington Trust advisors Jonathan Williams and Kevin Curtis, will staff a new office set to open in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, according to Summit Trail.

They were drawn to Summit for its platform, technology and culture, Williams and Curtis say. The duo decided against opening their own RIA, opting instead to join an existing outfit expressly set up to service wealthy clientele, they say.

“It was clear to us when we met with Summit Trail that this was a no brainer,” says Williams, who has worked with Curtis for 11 years.

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UBS said it wants to bring more transparency to philanthropy and use investment capital to lower the risk that nonprofits take on in running programs - freeing up their resources to pursue even more projects.
Fired star UBS advisor starts second act with Dynasty
A top advisor started a second act as an independent advisor backed by Dynasty Financial Partners after being dismissed from UBS in April.

The wirehouse discharged Craig Findley, now CEO of Venture Visionary Partners, for allegedly violating firm policies involving training and outside activities, according to the firm's note in his FINRA BrokerCheck record. The matter was non-sales and non-client related.

“I acknowledge that I violated firm policy when I failed to advise management that my assistant had taken a training module for me. However, I did not intentionally violate firm policy nor was I ever warned, put on heightened supervision or subject to any type of progressive discipline for this action,” Findley said in a response included in his BrokerCheck record.

An advisor 26 years, Findley has no other disclosures on BrokerCheck.

Findley has been listed on a number of top advisor lists, including those of Barron’s and Forbes. His multistate UBS team of 36 professionals had AUM of $6.08 billion as of Oct. 1, 2018, according to Barron's.

Click here to read more about his move to independence.
Merril Lynch (1) by Bloomberg
First Republic snags mega Merrill team
Two Merrill Lynch advisors quit to join First Republic, joining a stream of high-net-worth hires at the bank.

Maureen Raihle and John Ver Bockel are based in Palm Beach, Florida, where they serve individuals, families, nonprofits and private family foundations, according to their new employer.

Ver Bockel previously oversaw approximately $1.7 billion, according to a Forbes ranking.

Raihle and Ver Bockel each have more than 30 years of industry experience.
The license obtained by UBS allows the firm to manage assets for institutional and high-net-worth investors in the world’s second-largest economy for the first time.
$1.7B advisor joins UBS
UBS had good luck in the Big Apple, picking up New York-based Kevin Roth from HSBC Securities. The 32-year advisor generated $2.2 million in annual revenue and oversaw $1.7 billion in client assets.

The wirehouse has reduced recruiting efforts since 2016, but continues to selectively hire talent from its rivals.

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Merril Lynch real estate
Rockefeller lands $1.7B Merrill team
Rockefeller’s recruiting efforts gained steam when the firm brought on a batch of brokers from Merrill Lynch including Higgins Hall Group.

The team includes advisor David Higgins, who has previously been on the Top 40 Advisors Under 40 ranking by On Wall Street. He was also a Barron’s top advisor with listed team assets of approximately $1.7 billion. The seven-member Higgins Hall Group, which also includes advisor Michael Hall, was previously part of Merrill Lynch’s Private Banking & Investment Group, a unit catering to wealthy clients.

They joined Rockefeller in Atlanta, where the firm is working to expand its presence.

To read more about Rockefeller’s recruiting, click here.
Stifel grabs advisors with more than $2.3B
Stifel landed a team that oversaw more than $2 billion, furthering the firm’s expansion efforts.

The former U.S. Bank team is comprised of Scott Dolan, Jim Taylor, Tony Sausville and Mark Graham. They are based in St. Louis, where Stifel is headquartered. The team was previously responsible for client assets of $2 billion.

To read more about this team, click here.
William Blair’s newest hires opened a new branch in Baltimore for the boutique wealth manager. Standing from left to right:: Hunter Purcell; Philip Rauch; Mitchell Whiteman; Robert Hopkins; Perry Bacon. Seated: Robert Oster; Darcy Carroll
William Blair hires $3B team to open new office
Building on previous high-net-worth hires, William Blair recruited a $3 billion team to open a new office.

The seven-member team joined from investment management firm Brown Advisory and is based in Baltimore, according to their new employer. The group consists of advisors Perry Bacon, Darcy Carroll, Robert Hopkins, Robert Oster, Hunter Purcell, Philip Rauch, Mitchell Whiteman and Jennifer Viglucci.

The advisors made the move in part because of company culture and resources. “In William Blair we find an independent, 84-year-old partnership that shares our focus of putting clients first and giving back to the community,” Hopkins said in a statement.

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Americana Partners group team photo.jpg
Big loss for Morgan Stanley as $6B team goes indie
A Morgan Stanley team that managed more than $6 billion quit to go independent with help from Dynasty Financial Partners.

The 11-member team, led by advisor Jason Fertitta, made the move partly because of what they felt were superior technology offerings for RIAs.

“The technology has gotten good enough in that it’s not just a lateral move for our team; it’s an upward move,” Fertitta says, noting that many vendor options available at the big firms are also available to RIAs.

To read more about this team, click here.
Signage for Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is displayed at the One Raffles Link building, which houses one of the Goldman Sachs (Singapore) Pte offices, in Singapore, on Saturday, Dec. 22, 2018. Singapore has expanded a criminal probe into fund flows linked to scandal-plagued 1MDB to include Goldman Sachs Group, which helped raise money for the entity, people with knowledge of the matter said. Photographer: Nicky Loh/Bloomberg
$6.6B team quits Goldman for UBS in mega move
A team that managed $6.6 billion in client assets quit Goldman Sachs to join UBS.

Advisors Cullen Thomason and Hunter Henry, who were on garden leave, joined UBS in Dallas in July. They previously generated approximately $21 million annual revenue.

Thomason and Henry have been at Goldman for their entire careers. They joined the business in 1997 and 2001, respectively, according to FINRA BrokerCheck.

To read more about this move, click here.
Logo with grasss of Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) headquarters building during the company's annual general meeting in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on Thursday, April 6, 2017
UBS suffers mega loss as $7.5B team bolts for RBC
Former UBS advisors Roger Stephens and Daniel Rothenberg, quit to open a new branch for RBC. The team oversaw $7.5 billion in client assets, making their departure one of the biggest leaving the wirehouses — and one of the biggest grabs for a regional brokerage firm in recent years.

The win for RBC caps off an aggressive recruiting year during which it poached a number of wirehouse teams, primarily from Merrill Lynch. But the firm’s hiring of Stephens and Rothenberg eclipses all of its previous hires this year by several magnitudes.

Stephens and Rothenberg will operate from a new RBC office in downtown L.A. at City National Plaza (RBC acquired City National in 2016). Stephens and Rothenberg cited that acquisition and RBC’s small size — it has about 1,900 advisors — as reasons they made the switch.

“We are excited to come to a firm that has a smaller, more focused group of people where we feel we can really make a difference,” Rothenberg said in a statement. “RBC has a boutique feel across the board, which gives us the flexibility to run our business the way we want.”

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First Republic bank logo Bloomberg News
$17B team exits First Republic
No bank, regardless of size, has ever watched anything close to $17 billion in clients assets walk out the door. Given that this misfortune befell a relatively small one, the blow — at first blush — appears especially severe for First Republic Bank.

Nearly 50 members of its wealth management division left, following the five top advisors on their team, which oversaw $17 billion in client assets. If it were classified as a breakaway, which typically refers to brokers who bust out of their wirehouse firms, it would be the largest in history.

The advisors split into two RIAs: two advisors formed a Evoke Wealth in Los Angeles, while their other three partners opened IEQ Capital in Palo Alto, California.

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