Morgan Stanley lures advisers from Merrill, others
Morgan Stanley has
managed to lure some top financial advisers from rival firms including Merrill
Lynch & Co Inc
The lure of established firms remains strong for some financial advisers even as many others seek to start up independent shops, said Howard Diamond, CEO of Diamond Consultants, a New Jersey based financial services recruiter.
"We are seeing a lot of what I would call intra-wirehouse movement, since many advisers are comfortable working at a large firm and enjoying that model," he said. He predicted more of the same to come.
That comfort level has not been high lately at Merrill Lynch, the world's largest retail brokerage by assets, which has lost a series of brokers to Morgan Stanley's global wealth management group during the past three weeks.
Merrill's agreement to be bought by Bank of America Corp has left Morgan Stanley -- which recently got a $9 billion cash infusion from Japan's largest bank, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc -- essentially the only majorstand-alone brokerage firm, said Diamond.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc, which is the largest surviving independent Wall Street securities firm but which has far fewer brokers than Morgan Stanley, has a small private wealth business, but nothing on the scale of Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley or Swiss-owned UBS AG.
Merrill Lynch's 16,000 advisers are waiting to hear of retention offers from Bank of America.
"Merrill advisers are looking at the prospect of working for (Bank of America Chief Executive Officer) Ken Lewis and Bank of America and fear they will find themselves in a cost-cutting mentality," Diamond said. "The assistance found at a major firm which has been taken for granted may not be available."