April 24, 2012

Wells Fargo, RBC Grab 12 Morgan Stanley Advisors

Former MSSB advisors expect to move more than $865 million in assets, $6 million in production

The Morgan Stanley headquarters in Times Square. (Photo: AP) The Morgan Stanley headquarters in Times Square. (Photo: AP)

Four ex-Morgan Stanley Smith Barney (MS) advisors moved to RBC Wealth Management (RY) on Tuesday, while eight moved to Wells Fargo Advisors (WFC) over the past two weeks, according to company sources. The former Morgan Stanley advisors expect to move more than $865 million in assets and $6 million in production.

While the move partly reflects ongoing dissatisfaction with the Morgan Stanley-Smith Barney integration, some experts say, it doesn’t reflect any new spike in advisor movement.

“I don’t see this as a trend,” saidthe recruiter Rick Peterson, of Peterson & Associates in Houston, in an interview with AdvisorOne. “Advisors are leaving everywhere. And a regional Morgan Stanley manager contacted me to say they were talking to lots of Wells Fargo advisors, for instance.”  (UBS, for instance, said it had recruited a three-member team in Illinois from Wells late on Tuesday.)

Other recruiters agree. "Retention deals continue to amortize, and the market has been good," said Mark Elzweig, a New York-based executive-search consultant, in an interview. "We'll continue to see increased movement this year."

Still, Peterson says, RBC—though it doesn’t have offer the largest recruiting package on the Street today—is sharing a good-sized deal with new reps. Plus, RBC's recruiter in the Southwest, Darryl Trewig, does a "great job" at attracting wirehouse reps to the firm.

Morgan Stanley, which reported its first-quarter results on Thursday, saw its advisor headcount shrink by about 300 reps. "But in terms of recruiting from the other wirehouses, it is positive territory on a net basis so far this year," Peterson explained.

Joining RBC in Houston from MSSB is the team of Gene Theobald, Otho Evans and Teresa Castillo, who managed about $330 million in client assets and had yearly fees and commissions of $2.6 million; their primary focus is on tax-free municipal bonds.

Also joining RBC from Morgan Stanley Smith Barney in Houston is Tim Hudnall, who has had about $90 million in assets under management and $525,000 in production. His practice focuses on fee-based asset management.

“At RBC Wealth Management, our goal is to bring on the best financial advisors who are a good fit with our firm’s culture,” said Jeff Heberling, director of the firm’s Houston Center branch, in a statement. “These four new advisors bring a wealth of knowledge and industry expertise, as well as a dedication to providing superior service to their clients.”

Moving from MSSB to Wells Fargo’s independent brokerage arm, Financial Network or FiNet, is the Robbins/Farley Group, comprising Robert Robbins and Colleen Farley in Bedford, N.H. Combined, their trailing 12-month fees and commissions are $1.5 million, while their AUM is $89 million.

Jamie Waldren in Columbia, Md., has joined Wells Fargo Advisors' traditional private-client channel from Morgan Stanley with about $1.1 million in production and assets of $96 million,

This channel also is welcoming John Peterson from MSSB in Memphis, Tenn. He has a decade of experience in the industry and AUM of $93 million.

In Oklahoma City, Okla., Leonard Bernstein, Robyn Fain, Tim Ridley and William Link are joining Wells from Morgan Stanley Smith Barney. They have a combined AUM of $168 million and they have 68 years of combined industry experience.

Other advisors joining Wells Fargo’s various channels recently include:

  • Three advisors from UBS with total production of $2.6 million and assets of $318 million in New York and Charleston, S.C;
  • Three advisors from Merrill Lynch with combined assets of $253 million in Jacksonville, Fla., and Seattle; and
  • Two reps from RBC in Annapolis, Md., with $1.1 million in production and $92.5 million in assets.
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