Welcome to Financial Advisor IQ

Merrill Lynch Forms New Team to Serve the Ultra Rich

March 14, 2018

Merrill Lynch is following in the footsteps of rival Morgan Stanley in forming a new support team to help serve its richest wealth management clients.

The new Merrill team is being formed as part of a consolidation of the company’s private banking, institutional and international groups, and is aimed at improving service for the wirehouse’s ultra-high-net-worth clientele, the Wall Street Journal writes.

The support team will offer tailored services that will include family and generational planning, according to the newspaper. Don Plaus, who last March was appointed to head Merrill’s high-end Private Banking & Investment Group, will remain in his post.

The revamp wasn’t meant to reduce costs and isn’t going to affect headcount, a person familiar with the matter tells the Journal. The move aims to bring Merrill Lynch’s resources under one roof to help expand its base of wealthy investors, according to a memo cited by the Journal.

As part of the restructuring, Plaus has appointed Linda Patel, formerly an executive in the wirehouse’s West Coast division, as the Texas region’s managing director, according to the Journal. She replaces Bob Johnson, who is retiring, a spokeswoman tells the Journal. Plaus also created a new Miami region, to be headed by Andres De Corral, who was previously an executive for the company’s Miami-based international group. That group is being absorbed into the new Miami structure, the Journal writes.

Earlier this month, reports surfaced that Morgan Stanley has formed a 66-person team to help ultra high net worth clients with estate planning and family governance, among other services.

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