Merrill Hires Investment Expert; Morgan Stanley Recruits 2 Advisors

Ashwin Chhabra is leaving his post at the Institute for Advanced Study to return to his former employer

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Merrill Lynch Wealth Management hired Ashvin Chhabra as chief investment officer, head of Investment Management and Guidance, on Monday. In this role, Chhabra will oversee investment advice and strategy for financial advisors and their clients and lead the Ultra High Net Worth (UHNW) Investment Office.

Chhabra (left) served as Merrill Lynch’s head of Wealth Strategies and Analytics between 2001 and 2007. During this time, he focused on links between behavioral finance and portfolio construction and translating this work into goals-based wealth management solutions. Chhabra most recently served as the chief investment officer at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J.

“As an organization, we believe we bring unparalleled intellectual capital to bear on behalf of our clients and advisors. Our ability to attract leading talent is central to that effort,” said Andy Sieg, head of Global Wealth and Retirement Solutions for Merrill, which is owned by Bank of America (BAC), in a press release.

As of March 31, Merrill Lynch had $1.83 trillion in client assets under management and some 15,000 financial advisors.

“Ashvin has an impressive industry and academic career that makes him ideally suited to work with our advisors to deliver investment advice and guidance that helps our clients pursue their desired outcomes,” Sieg added.

Before joining Merrill Lynch in 2001, Chhabra was head of quantitative research at J.P. Morgan Private Bank (JPM). He holds a Ph.D. in applied physics from Yale University and is recognized as a leader in the fields of investment management, risk and asset allocation and risk management.

(Also on Monday, BofA said it had reached a $1.6 billion settlement with MBIA regarding credit-default-swap protection agreements that it purchased from MBIA on commercial mortgage-backed securities. This will reduce the company's first-quarter net income to $1.5 billion, or $0.10 per share, from the $2.6 billion, or $0.20 per share it reported on April 17, which will be stated in its next 10-Q filing.)

Morgan Stanley

On Tuesday, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management (MS) said it had successfully recruited advisors from rival firms with a total of $3.7 million in yearly fees and commissions and $300 million in assets under management.

Paul Bagnato moves to Morgan Stanley's Mount Kisco, N.Y., office from Wells Fargo (WFC). Bagnato has about $1.7 million in yearly production and $165 million in client assets. His supervisor will be Mark Willis, branch manager.

Alissa Carloss joins Morgan Stanley in Jackson, Tenn., from Stifel Nicolaus. Her yearly production has been $1.02 million, and her prior assets were $135 million.

She will report to John Terry, the complex manager in Little Rock, Ark. Her father, Terry Nance, will be consulting group analyst.


Read Wells’ FiNet, Morgan Stanley Nab 7 Merrill Reps on AdvisorOne.

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