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Merrill Lynch Reps Managing $330M Split to Raymond James

By Alex Padalka March 8, 2018

A Merrill Lynch financial advisor who managed more than $150 million in Boston has jumped ship to Raymond James, according to a press release from Raymond James.

Phil Closuit joins the Boston office of Raymond James & Associates, the firm’s traditional employee broker-dealer, according to the press release. The advisor, who produced $1.2 million annually, has been in the industry for two decades and with Merrill Lynch since 2009, according to Raymond James. Closuit says in the press release he was attracted to the firm’s culture and its commitment “to honoring book ownership.”

Raymond James has pledged to let reps keep their clients, as opposed to rivals UBS and Morgan Stanley, who at the end of 2017 withdrew from the Protocol for Broker Recruiting, which lets departing advisors to take some client data with them without threat of lawsuits. Both wirehouses have been going after reps jumping ship with temporary restraining orders in recent months. Merrill Lynch, however, remains a signee to the protocol.

Nonetheless, Merrill Lynch also lost a pair of advisors to Steward Partners Global Advisory, the employee-owned independent partnership associated with Raymond James Financial Services, according to a press release from Steward Partners. Richard Godfrey and Matthew Spradlin, who oversaw $180 million at Merrill Lynch, launch Steward Partners’ first Richmond, Va., office as Godfrey & Spradlin Group, according to the press release.

The latest moves come on the heels of a pair of advisors managing $180 million at Merrill Lynch joining the Little Rock, Ark., office of Raymond James Financial Services, the firm’s independent broker-dealer, which also picked up a $262 million team of Merrill Lynch reps at the end of 2017 and a $300 million Merrill Lynch team in January.

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“RJ is offering something these advisors crave: a focus on doing what is best for their clients without the constant drumbeat of driving higher revenues for the bank,” writes an FA-IQ reader with the handle “LongTimeBull” commenting on the article about the Little Rock move. “This is why there are so many long-term advisors making the move now, to have the ability to finish their careers the way they started, when clients were the focus at the wirehouses.”