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Merrill Lynch Nabs Yet Another Wirehouse Rival Team

June 6, 2017

Merrill Lynch has lured another team of advisors from rival UBS Private Wealth, adding a trio who oversaw $3.3 billion at UBS, Merrill Lynch says in a press release.

F. Michael Covey III, Tom Kane and Mark Wiktor have joined the Chicago office of Merrill Lynch’s Private Banking & Investment Group as managing directors and part of the CKW Team, according to the press release. All three had moved to UBS in 2007 from Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch says.

Just last week, Merrill Lynch announced that it snapped up a $1 billion team from UBS. Joseph Gabriele and Paul Vasady-Kovacs had also worked at UBS for a decade prior to jumping ship. Merrill Lynch also scooped up a $1 billion advisor from JPMorgan last week. But the billion-dollar producers may be the last to come to Merrill Lynch for some time: last month, the wirehouse announced that it will pause all recruiting starting June 1, although the decision will not affect advisors it started pursuing before the deadline. During the recruiting halt, the company plans to revamp its incentive packages away from large signing bonuses to top producers and instead focus on attracting less experienced brokers from independent broker-dealers and regional brokerages. Other firms, including Morgan Stanley, are also stepping away from large recruitment packages, while Wells Fargo Advisors is raising the incentive deals it’s willing to offer to top producers.

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In a separate move, a veteran Goldman Sachs Group financial advisor is breaking away to go independent, the Wall Street Journal writes. David Darby, who oversaw $1 billion at Goldman after spending 21 years with the firm, will launch DG Wealth Partners, according to the paper.

Part of his motivation was the ability to sell third-party products and not just those made by Goldman, he tells the Journal.

Goldman lost several veteran advisors in recent weeks. Last month, Merrill Lynch nabbed a team of six advisors from Goldman Sachs-owned Ayco Company, some of whom had been with the firm for 10 to 15 years. Goldman is also suing two advisors who left in May to form their own firm, accusing them of poaching clients and trying to lure employees.

By Alex Padalka
  • To read the Wall Street Journal article cited in this story, click here.