Merrill Nabs Midtown Manhattan Team from Morgan Stanley
Merrill Lynch, which has lost a parade of veteran advisors in the New York City area to Morgan Stanley Wealth Management in recent months, got some revenge this week.
Merrill said Thursday that it hired William W. Sahlman and Greg D. Jones, brokers in midtown Manhattan who had managed $300 million of client assets at Morgan Stanley. The two have worked together for 15 years, first crossing paths at the old Lehman Brothers before they joined Morgan Stanley in September 2008.
Merrill last month announced a freeze on hiring veterans from rival firms, saying it would focus on recruiting less expensive advisors with three to eight years of experience. But it told internal and external recruiters that any deals in the prospecting pipeline as of June 1 would be honored. Executives privately said they were hoping the announcement would spur a wave of veterans to join.
At least six teams that had been managing $6 billion of customer assets, including Sahlman and Jones, have accepted Merrill offers in the past four weeks.
Morgan Stanley itself announced in late May that it will “substantially” reduce recruiting of veteran advisors, joining UBS Financial Services and Merrill in attempting to stop the cycle of raiding each other for little or no gain.
In a report on the wealth management industry released this week, the Boston Consulting Group forecast that firms will reduce their internecine hiring from competitors to 50% over the next decade from 72% in 2016, relying instead on promoting sales assistants and hiring from other sectors and industries.
The heads of major retail broker-dealers have long groused that firms cannot recoup signing bonuses that have reached three-to-four times a broker’s annual production. Such packages often lower well-paid advisers’ motivation and carry the ever-present recruiting risk of antagonizing their customers, they say.
Sahlman and Jones were unavailable to discuss their motivations for moving, said a person answering the phone at the Merrill branch they joined in Rockefeller Center .
Sahlman first registered in the securities industry with Arnhold and S. Bleichroeder in 1996 and also worked at DB Alex. Brown before joining Lehman Brothers in 2000, according to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s BrokerCheck database. Jones began his career in 2005 at Lehman, according to his BrokerCheck history.
A Morgan Stanley spokeswoman confirmed the departure but declined further comment.