Defection of top team could trigger 'shock waves' at Merrill: Recruiter

'Circle of Champions' members jump to new home; managed $1B in assets

Oct 25, 2011 @ 4:54 pm

By Andrew Osterland

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((Photo: Bloomberg News))

Harvey Kadden and other high-profile Bank of America Merrill Lynch advisers based in New York City have jumped ship and joined Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC.

Mr. Kadden, a 30-year veteran at Merrill Lynch, was a member of the Circle of Champions, the highest financial adviser recognition club at Merrill, for over 10 years. He was named a managing director at the firm three years ago and has been a Barron's Top 1,000 adviser for the last three years.

Joining Mr. Kadden at MSSB are Mihir Patel, Randy Knopp, Tim Baker and Chris Barber. According to MSSB spokeswoman Christine Pollak, the five-man team had combined production of over $14 million during the trailing-12-month period and managed assets in excess of $1 billion. (See how this team sizes up against other recent Advisers on the Move.)

Mr. Patel and Mr. Knopp were also Circle of Champions members and managing directors at Merrill Lynch, while Mr. Baker worked on the taxable-fixed-income desk for five years before joining the team three years ago. He was named a member of the Executives Club this year. Mr. Barber has been with Merrill Lynch since late 2008.

“The numbers on these advisers are big, but what makes this a huge story is that they're a high-quality team making a move across the transom despite their retention packages,” said Mindy Diamond, who runs recruiting firm Diamond Consultants. “This will send shock waves through [Merrill Lynch].”

The team will join Morgan's Midtown Manhattan Complex and report to complex Manager Ben Firestein. Calls for comment to Bank of America Merrill Lynch were not immediately returned.

In a related item, Merrill Lynch announced today that it had recruited a five man advisory team from -- yep -- Morgan Stanley Smith Barney. Though not quite as large as Mr. Kadden's Merrill team that departed, it is a major signing. Jeffrey Dinkins, William McGrath, Peter Ianace, Rohit Mehrotra, and Jason Jaynes joined Merrill's Plano, Texas office from MSSB on Oct. 21. The team generated $4.4 million in production over the last 12 months and managed $478 million in assets. MSSB spokeswomen Christine Pollak confirmed the departures but said the production numbers were high.

Separately, Merrill also announced that Leonard Kinsman joined brokerage's Staten Island, New York office from Wells Fargo Advisors LLC. Mr. Kinsman managed $113 million in assets and had trailing 12 month production of $1.4 million. A call to Wells Fargo to confirm the departure was not immediately returned.

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