4.5-Mln Merrill Team in Texas Shuffles to Wells Fargo

13 Dec    Investing News

(Updates with confirmation of team’s move from a Wells spokeswoman and revises team production to about $4.5 million.)

The shuffle of advisors and managers out of Merrill Lynch in Texas continued this week as a five-broker team left the firm’s Frisco branch on Tuesday to join Wells Fargo Advisors in the nearby Dallas suburb of Plano.

Jeff Dinkins, Andrew McGrath, Jason Jaynes, Peter Ianace and Brad Huff—who sources said had produced more than $4.5 million in the previous 12 months on $850 million of customer assets—made the move with three client associates, a Wells Fargo spokeswoman confirmed. Dinkins said in a social-media message that he could not immediately comment. 

Merrill Wealth Management President Andy Sieg has laid out a strategy of growth without recruiting by implementing a grid supplement that awards extra payout points to brokers who grow their annual assets through new accounts and deducts points for asset contraction. Merrill will offset departures like those of Dinkins’ “Wilshire Wealth Management” group through an in-house farm system that includes advisors trained at Bank of America’s Merrill Edge discount broker and in-house training programs.

While advisors have left across the country, Merrill has experienced a heavy outflow of brokers and managers in Texas, including the departure of Dallas complex manager Michael Armondo in May to Rockefeller Capital Management, of Houston-area complex manager Jeremy Silvas in September to Raymond James Financial and of two $3-million advisory teams near Houston in August to Wells Fargo and to Stifel, Nicolaus. 

Stifel also opened a new office in Frisco on Thanksgiving week with a Merrill emigrant.

Wells, for its part, has been offering handsome recruiting deals and premium payments to recruiters to replenish its ranks after losing more than 1,000 brokers net since its parent bank disclosed a fake account scandal three years ago.

Four of the five brokers on the Dinkins-led team, which operated at Merrill as the Wilshire Wealth Management Group, joined the Bank of America subsidiary in October 2011 from Morgan Stanley.  

Dinkins and McGrath, who a well-placed source said produced $1.6 million and $1.4 million respectively in the past year, previously worked for four-and-a-half years at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney in Plano,  according to their BrokerCheck histories, which have no disclosures of complaints or other events. Dinkins began his brokerage career with UBS in 2002, while McGrath began his career as a registered rep in 2001 at Wells Fargo Advisors predecessor First Union Securities.

Jaynes and Ianace similarly jumped with the team to Merrill in October 2011 from Morgan Stanley. Jaynes began his career three years earlier at Morgan Stanley, while Ianance first registered as a rep in 1999, at A.G. Edwards & Sons, according to their BrokerCheck histories.

Huff had spent his three-year brokerage career with Merrill before this week’s move., his BrokerCheck history shows. 

When they joined Merrill, it said that Dinkins, McGrath, Ianace, Jaynes were producing  about $4.4 million in fees and commissions on $478 million in client assets, according to media reports at the time. 

—Mason Braswell contributed to this story.

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