Morgan Stanley grabs two teams from Merrill with $630M

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Building on a series of recent hires, Morgan Stanley picked up advisors overseeing more than $630 million in combined client assets from Merrill Lynch.

The firm’s new additions joined in two locations, a Morgan Stanley spokeswoman confirms.

Paul Conklin joined the wirehouse in Florham Park, New Jersey, where he reports to David Fritz, complex manager. Conklin isreturning to Morgan Stanley, having worked at the firm from 2001 to 2008, according to FINRA BrokerCheck records.

Conklin, who has 36 years of experience in the business, generated $2.3 million in trailing 12-month revenue and managed more than $300 million at his previous employer.

In Atlanta, Morgan Stanley picked up ex-Merrill advisors Gary Casey, Will Slade and Sam Wesselschmidt. They report to David Green, sub-complex manager. The team generated a combined trailing-12 of $2.9 million and oversaw assets of approximately $330 million at Merrill.

Casey, an advisor since 1983, is the team’s veteran. He started his career at First Southwestern before moving to Dean Witter. He later worked at Smith Barney and transitioned to Merrill Lynch in 2008, according to BrokerCheck.Slade and Wesselschmidt started their careers at Merrill Lynch in 2011 and 2013, respectively.

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In a statement, Casey citedMorgan Stanley’s technology platform as a reason to make the career change. He also noted leadership by local management during the coronavirus pandemic, which “gave us the opportunity to easily make this decision to move despite the current environment.”

Morgan Stanley’s other recent hires include advisors John Nicolaus in Coos Bay, Oregon, and Victor Panos in Orlando, Florida. Nicolaus made the somewhat unusual move of leaving an independent broker-dealer, CUSO Financial Services, to join an employee brokerage.

The wirehouse has pursued selective hiring since cutting back on overall recruiting efforts several years ago. Morgan Stanley also left the Broker Protocol in 2017.

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