September 7, 2012 / 2:42 PM / 5 years ago

ON THE MOVE-Merrill lands Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo advisers

Sept 7 (Reuters) - Bank of America Corp’s Merrill Lynch expanded its adviser force in Florida, New York and Wisconsin after landing veteran advisers from rival brokerages Morgan Stanley Smith Barney and Wells Fargo Advisors in those regions.

The new hires, who joined Merrill on Aug. 31, managed about $337 million in client assets at their old firms.

In Wisconsin, adviser David Francis moved to Merrill from Wells Fargo Advisors, the brokerage owned by Wells Fargo & Co , where he managed more than $109.7 million in client assets. Francis joined Merrill’s Mequon office, where Louis Henneck is branch manager.

Francis had been a Wachovia adviser who joined Wells when it acquired his firm. He had worked at Smith Barney earlier in his career of more than 25 years, according to regulatory filings.

In New York, adviser Jonathan Brecht moved to Merrill from Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, where he managed more than $128.7 million in client assets. Brecht joined Merrill’s Rockefeller Center office in Midtown Manhattan, where Michael Simonds is branch manager.

Brecht was a legacy Smith Barney adviser who joined Morgan Stanley Smith Barney after the merger of Citigroup Inc’s Smith Barney unit with Morgan Stanley’s wealth division in 2009. A 25-year industry veteran, he had spent about a decade with Merrill earlier in his career, according to regulatory filings.

In Florida, adviser Jeff Chanin also moved to Merrill from Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, where he managed $98.5 million in client assets. Chanin joined Merrill’s Coral Springs office, where Scott Kauffman is branch manager.

Chanin had previously worked at both Morgan Stanley and Citigroup before joining the joint venture in 2009. He was previously based in Morgan Stanley Smith Barney’s Plantation office.

Including these recent additions, Merrill has hired 24 veteran advisers from Morgan Stanley Smith Barney since the start of the year, the firm said. Reuters tracks the moves of veteran advisers with around $100 million or more in client assets.

Wells Fargo declined to comment on the departure, and Morgan Stanley Smith Barney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney and Wells Fargo Advisors are among the top U.S. brokerages by client assets, along with UBS Wealth Management Americas, and often vie for the same pool of veteran advisers.

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