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Merrill Shifts Execs, Resources to Better Serve Ultra-Wealthy

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(Photo: AP)

Merrill Lynch’s private-banking group is reshuffling its leadership to enhance the experiences of its ultra-high-net-worth clients.

Don Plaus, head of Private Banking & Investment Group (PBIG), International and Institutional for Merrill Lynch — which includes 380 private wealth advisors — announced the changes earlier this week.

The firm says it will bring experts now serving non-U.S. and PBIG clients together into one team. It also is creating a new sub-unit called Strategic Wealth Advisory Services, which will provide specialized services for PBIG, International or Institutional clients — like “wealth structuring, generational wealth and family planning, and day-to-day wealth complexity management,” according to a memo.

“With these organizational changes in place, I’m confident we’ll optimize our opportunities and help advisors leverage the resources of Bank of America and Merrill Lynch to meet the unique needs of our clients,” said Plaus, in a statement.

Merrill Lynch’s move in the UHNW space comes about two weeks after rival Morgan Stanley created a 66-person team — set to be called Morgan Stanley Family Office Resources — to help it better serve ultra-wealthy clients, according to a Bloomberg report.

As for Merrill Lynch’s latest news, personnel changes include the following:

  • Linda Patel will become a Regional Managing Director (RMD) for the Texas region, based in Dallas.
  • Andres De Corral, based in Miami, will become the RMD of the Florida region.
  • Greg McGauley, now the Northeast RMD of PBIG and an institutional client acquisition liaison, will lead the newly formed Strategic Wealth Advisory Services team.
  • The Center for Family Wealth Dynamics and Governance will become part of the SWAS and continue to be led by Stacy Allred.
  • Inez Louzonis will continue to head international strategy.
  • Kevin Walsh will remain the leader of institutional strategy.
  • Others staying in their current positions will be Mollie Colavita, RMD, Metro (New York); Tracy Murphy, RMD, Pacific Northwest; Mike Nies, RMD, Southeast; Michael Rogers, RMD, Southwest; and Brett Thelander, RMD, Midwest.
  • Liam O’Neil will become a Business Development Executive.

As of Dec. 30, Merrill had 14,953 advisors and $2.3 trillion in client assets.

— Check out IBD Execs Open Up About Industry Shifts on ThinkAdvisor.