RBC Hires $423-Mln Asset Merrill Lifer in Wisconsin

October 7, 2019

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RBC Wealth Management-U.S. and Ameriprise Financial continue to pull from their larger rivals. 

Brannon Guyette, a Merrill Lynch broker who had spent his 19-year brokerage career with the “Thundering Herd,” joined RBC in Green Bay, Wisconsin, on Thursday. He was overseeing $423 million of client assets under administration, an RBC spokeswoman said. 

Another Merrill lifer, Providence, R.I.-based Peter Bazirgan, who had been with the firm for almost 22 years, joined Ameriprise Financial’s employee channel on August 30, Ameriprise said on Monday. He had been managing $168 million in client assets of former clients, the firm said.

For Merrill, the moves continue an outflow of veterans to smaller regional firms and newly aggressive private wealth boutiques. On Friday, longtime Merrill brokers John P. Ver Bockel and Maureen Raihle whose team managed some $1.6 billion of client assets in Chicago and Palm Beach, Fla., left for First Republic.  The same day, four advisors in a Merrill office in suburban St. Louis joined Stifel Financial. They had collectively managed $965 million at Merrill, Stifel said. 

A Merrill spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment on the departures. Merrill Wealth President Andy Sieg recently said that the firm is continuing with its freeze on recruiting experienced advisors but is satisfied with programs to increase productivity of existing brokers and to train new ones. 

Guyette, who moved to RBC with client associates Ann Janke and Clara Cockrum, did not respond to a request for comment on his decision.

Minneapolis-based RBC is among several regional firms that have reaffirmed their recruiting commitment through the appointment of new managers and deals that can reach around 250% of trailing-12-month revenue for select candidates.  

Ameriprise Financial, which also is based in Minneapolis, has been offering even more lucrative packages at a time when all the wirehouses have cut their recruiting budgets and broker movement broadly has slowed.

In addition to recruiting Barzigan, Ameriprise said on Monday that it hired Mark Burton from Wells Fargo Advisors in Dayton, Ohio. 

The broker, who spent his entire 20-year career with Wells’ flagship private client group, was managing $152 million in client assets and is teaming up with his new branch manager, Todd Lucius, according to  Ameriprise. Lucius joined from a unit of Thrivent Financial two years ago.

Burton declined to declined to comment on his reason for moving. Two client associates, including his wife, also switched with him, Ameriprise said.

Wells is the one wirehouse that has been actively recruiting and fattening incentives to new hires and headhunters. Wells Fargo Advisors’ broker count of 13,800 (across its employee, bank and independent channels) has decreased by more than 1,300 since the fake-account scandal at its bank affiliates were disclosed in September 2016.

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