Rockefeller Hires $1 Billion-AUM Broker from Wells in L.A.

September 27, 2019

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Rockefeller Capital Management hired its first broker in southern California on Friday, recruiting Pedro J. Marti from a Wells Fargo Advisor branch in Los Angeles, according to two reliable sources.

Marti, a solo practitioner who moved with client associate Loreen Washburn, manages about $1 billion of assets for fewer than 100 clients and generated close to $5 million in the previous 12 months for Wells, said one of the sources.

New York-based Rockefeller in June recruited Merrill Lynch complex manager Nathan Crair to build a wealth management business in southern California, and Marti is his first recruit.

Rockefeller has established 12 advisor practices since its relaunch as a broad wealth management firm last year under the hands of  former Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch executive Greg Fleming. It has been particularly busy in recent weeks, hiring a $4 million team from Merrill Lynch to open a Washington, DC, office last Friday, and recruiting another $4-million team from Morgan Stanley in New York on August 30.

While most of its recruits came from Merrill, Morgan and UBS, Marti is the second with a Wells pedigree. Rockefeller recruited a $300-million asset Wells team in San Francisco in July to supplement its then single-advisor office in San Francisco.

Los Angeles has been an active exchange zone for aggressive private banks and brokerage “boutiques” this month.  Last week First Republic Bank hired a UBS team  producing about $11 million in Century City.

Marti grew up in a family that ran auto dealerships and began his career as an analyst in the corporate development department of Norwest Bank, which Wells subsequently bought, according to a 2012 profile that ranked him at the time as a  “top 40 under the age of 40” broker, with $485 million of client assets.

He first registered as a broker in January 2011 with Wells Fargo Investments in Beverly Hills, according to his BrokerCheck history.  A Wells Fargo spokeswoman declined to discuss Marti’s departure.

Separately, Wells Fargo last week hired Frank McCabe, a lifetime Merrill broker in its employee-channel branch in Barrington, Illinois, north of Chicago. McCabe, who moved solo to Wells after 19 years at a Merrill branch in nearby Northbrook, was managing about $93 million and generating about $560,000 annually at Merrill, he said.

His move was motivated by growing concern over compensation, benefits and sales policy changes that Merrill has been implementing—”death by a thousand cuts,” he called them.  In addition to some of the bank referral and account growth requirements that he found bothersome, McCable was disturbed primarily by new billing policies that he said delay his payment on 401(k) accounts that comprise about 30% of his book.

He chose Wells after about a year of due diligence because of what he said was better technology that he believes can help clients despite their initial concerns about following him to a bank that has been rocked by so much scandal. ”It’s had some bad press, which continues to get pointed out to me, but it’s bound to turn around and I do my best to talk clients through it,” he said.

A Merrill spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment.

Wells, which has upped its recruiting packages to offset the net departure of more than 1,000 brokers since its sister bank’s fake account scandal erupted in 2016,  recruited a $4-million team from Morgan Stanley in Florida earlier this week.

Wells on Friday announced that it has hired veteran banker and retail brokerage executive Charles Scharf as its new chief executive, the third to run the San Francisco-based company in the past three years.

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