March 23, 2012

Morgan Stanley Grabs Two Reps From Merrill, Credit Suisse

New advisors could bring $575 million in assets, nearly $4 million in annual production to MSSB

Morgan Stanley (MS) said Thursday that it recruited two advisors from Merrill Lynch (BAC) and Credit Suisse (CS) with combined yearly fees and commissions of close to $4 million and assets under management of $575 million, though it continues to shed advisors as well, experts note.

"Despite broker defections, Morgan Stanley has continued to hire advisors,” said executive-search consultant Mark Elzweig (left) in an interview with AdvisorOne. “Their upfront deals are attractive and their fee-based platform is top notch. Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch often exchange brokers.”

In Tampa, Fla., Bryce Kenny came to Morgan Stanley Smith Barney from Credit Suisse. He reports to complex manager Dan Cedro and should move some $2.6 million in yearly fees and commissions and $475 in assets under management.

Thomas A. DeRosa joined MSSB's office in New York on West 52nd Street from Merrill Lynch. He reports to complex manager Gerald Ferrante and should bring some $1.3 million in production and $100 million in assets.

Earlier this week, Baird said it had recruited three Morgan Stanley Smith Barney advisors in Denver, along with two reps in Raleigh, N.C., and one in Charlotte, N.C. They have combined assets of $635 million. And last week, a team with MSSB in San Diego moved into a hybrid (independent-RIA) model with LPL Financial (LPLA) and Fidelity.

Morale at Morgan Stanley, especially on the Smith Barney side of the house, is low, Elzweig said. Since the merger, equity commissions and client account fees have risen, and advisors producing below $500,000 gross have been “shut out of syndicate.”

Branches have been closed, and managers shuffled around, he says. “As branches continue to consolidate, no one knows for sure which branch managers will make the final cut."

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