Bank of America-Merrill Lynch (BAC) said Monday that it hired Michael Maghani, previously with Morgan Stanley (MS), to become its new managing director and head of insurance and annuities.

The news was shared with BofA-Merrill’s 17,500-plus advisors in an internal memo, according to David Tyrie, head of Personal Wealth & Retirement for Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Maghani will replace John Mulhall, who left the group in late July, on Oct. 1.

“The floodgates opened to fill this role,” said Tyrie (left), in an interview with AdvisorOne. “Roles like this are few and far between, and fortunately we heard from dozens of folks who were interested … Mike is a big name in the industry and ran the business successfully at one of our competitors. He’s head and shoulders above the other candidates in terms of being qualified.”

According to Merrill, Maghani is a 30-year industry veteran who has worked for Citigroup, SunAmerica Asset Management, UBS and Morgan Stanley Smith Barney. At MSSB, he most recently served as director of distribution for the company’s Annuity and Insurance Services business.

“He’s worked on business development, as well as platform and product development,” said Tyrie. “As we sat down and talked about the role, it was clear that we didn’t need to educate him on anything … He stood apart.”

Today’s advisors need share with clients insights, planning tools and “an array of solutions to help them have the best life possible,” he explained.  Maghani’s task will be focused on “helping us develop this as a business through strategic development, planning and product alignment,” shared Tyrie.

The new Merrill exec will zero in on “the needs [of clients] and how we work with our partners, since we don’t make these products, to take the best-in-breed products and put them in the hands of clients,” said Tyrie. “This process is driven by advisors, and he’ll be in daily contact with them.”

On Tuesday, Morgan Stanley said it was dropping Smith Barney from the name of its venture, formed in 2009 and now encompassing about 16,930 FAs.

In the past two weeks, Wedbush Securities and Baird recruited advisors from Morgan Stanley, as did Wells Fargo’s independent channel FiNet.

In mid-September, Merrill hired two advisors from Morgan Stanley and one from Wells Fargo; the three advisors oversee close to $340 million in client assets and more than $1.5 million in yearly fees and commissions.