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Merrill, Securities America & Commonwealth Add Reps From Rivals

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Merrill Lynch (BAC) said an ex-Morgan Stanley (MS) team with over $3 million in yearly fees and commissions has joined its Rockefeller Center office in New York. Other broker-dealers with new recruits include Securities America and Commonwealth Financial.

Bank of America-Merrill’s latest recruited team includes John Mirsepahi, Matthew Cali and Matthew Zamora, who do business as the J.M. Group.

“Merrill Lynch is pleased to have this experienced team,” said complex director Michael Simonds, in a statement. “John has clearly demonstrated success in the New York City marketplace over the past 20 years … and [was] a Chairman’s Club producer at Morgan Stanley for the past nine years; we look forward to his continued success.”

Both Mirsepahi and Zamora worked for Merrill Lynch previously. Mirsepahi cut his teeth in the industry at Paine Webber from 1995 to 1999 and then was with Merrill Lynch from 1999 to 2005, when he moved to Citigroup, which later sold its Smith Barney unit to Morgan Stanley.

Zamora was with Merrill Lynch from May 2009 to October 2010 before moving to Morgan Stanley, while Cali worked previously for Laidlaw and Co., as well as Citi.

“My decision to join Merrill Lynch is the result of an extensive amount of industry due diligence, ultimately driven by what I believe will be in the best interests of our clients,” said Mirsepahi, in a statement. “In short, we will be able to take advantage of the combined strengths of the top wealth management organization, Merrill Lynch, along with the market leading banking, lending and financial stability of Bank of America.”

Other Recruits

Securities America, part of Ladenburg Thalmann (LTS), says Randy Scritchfield of Damascus, Maryland, came on board from H. Beck, where he had been since 1987 and built up a practice with some $115 million in client assets.

 “We understand the immense amount of due diligence an advisor must make to switch broker-dealers after nearly three decades,” said Gregg Johnson, executive vice president of branch office development and acquisitions at Securities America, in a statement. “Randy’s decision to join us reflects the value advisors place on the client-focused culture offered at Securities America.”

Scritchfield, a CFP, has been a member of the Million Dollar Round Table for 31 years.

“There were a few primary reasons I chose Securities America,” Scritchfield said. “Technology was a major influence, but the depth of staffing in the home office, strength of senior leadership and client-driven focus were the deciding factors.”

Commonwealth Financial Network said King Financial Network of Manalapan, New Jersey, is now affiliated with the broker-dealer. The group, led by James F. King Jr. and formerly affiliated with LPL Financial (LPLA), has roughly $108 million in client assets. “We are pleased to welcome King Financial Network to Commonwealth,” said Andrew Daniels, managing principal, business development, in a statement. “I feel that Jim was drawn most to Commonwealth’s commitment to both quality and community, which are at our core.”

According to King, “After much due diligence, we found that partnering with Commonwealth best complemented our practice. We are confident that our affiliation with Commonwealth will result in progressive innovations for both our practice and our clients,” he said in a statement.

Focus Hires

Focus Financial Partners said recently that it has hired several individuals for leadership roles in 2015 in mergers and acquisitions, finance, legal and compliance, and marketing.

“We are very excited by the quality of talent we have attracted. These professionals will further enhance our ability to offer unparalleled resources and support to the partner firms,” said Rudy Adolf, founder and CEO of Focus Financial Partners, in a press release. “Our investment in people reflects Focus’ continued commitment to further strengthening the leading global partnership of independent wealth management firms.”

The group of new execs includes Justin Ferri, Eric Amar, Molly Bennard, Scott Holsopple and Sukanya Kuruganti. Founded in 2006, Focus Financial has more than $325 million in annual revenue.

— Check out Merrill Boosts Retirement Focus, Promotes 2 Managers on ThinkAdvisor.


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