Another Merrill Lifer Leaves Venerable “SD” Branch in New York City
Merrill Lynch’s “SD Financial Center” branch in downtown Manhattan is legendary among Thundering Herd veterans for fostering some of the firm’s most productive brokers, but it continues to lose its longtime residents.
Andrew LeBlanc, who started his career at Merrill in 1995, left the SD office on Friday to join Bruderman Brothers, a suburban “family office” firm with around $1 billion in assets under management, according to Bruderman’s chief executive, Oliver Pursche.
LeBlanc, who managed around $300 million in assets for ultra-wealthy clients, is at least the 11th million-dollar producer since December to have left the office that boasts as having been “located since 1940 in the heart of the financial district.”
LeBlanc, who left with his client associate, did not return a call for comment but his new boss said he was looking for a new model of servicing clients than what wirehouses now offer.
“It was a combination of things,” said Pursche, whose Suffern, NY-based firm in Rockland County has an office in Manhattan where LeBlanc is based.
“He wanted to go into more of a private wealth service” that is flexible about helping clients invest in private offerings and in offering concierge services such as valuing art, automobiles and coin collections, Pursche said.
Unlike some colleagues, LeBlanc was not particularly motivated to leave by Merrill’s hard-line policy on eliminating commissions in retirement accounts and other regulatory changes, according to Pursche, who said he helped build the Neuberger Berman’s wrap account programs in the late 1990s.
A Merrill spokeswoman confirmed LeBlanc’s departure but declined further comment.
Bruderman has 16 advisors, including six in Manhattan, the New York City office where LeBlanc is based, according to Pursche.
Among the individuals and teams that have left the SD officer in Merrill’s Liberty Street/World Financial Center headquarters since December are six who jumped to Morgan Stanley. A $3 million team who left last week for the rival firm included Mary Ann (“Missy”) Long, Brian G. O’Connor and Kevin M. Murray. Long’s father was one of the pioneers of the SD office, said several Merrill brokers.