Another Morgan Stanley Team Joins Merrill as Recruiting Window Shuts
(Updates with team’s assets.)
After picking up two teams with a combined $4.3 billion in assets from UBS Financial Services last week, Merrill Lynch on Friday nabbed another big group from Morgan Stanley in Paramus, New Jersey, according to two sources.
Thomas Reichert, a 39-year industry veteran who had been with Morgan Stanley for nine years, left with three fellow advisers and two associates. The RLA Group, as it was branded, generated about $5 million in production last year and oversaw $628 million in assets, said people familiar with their business. It was the biggest team in the Paramus South branch, and includes Paul G. Lotito, Eric Aiello and Lindsay Ann Reichert.
The shift appears to be fulfilling Merrill’s hope of sealing deals with seasoned brokers that were in the pipeline prior to its self-imposed, budget-conscious June 1 deadline on prospecting for additional veterans. The Bank of America-owned broker-dealer has brought in teams managing some $6 billion in assets since announcing its impending recruiting moratorium on May 12, including a Miami broker from JP Morgan with a Brazilian client-focused practice.
A spokeswoman for Merrill Lynch confirmed the move. Thomas Reichert did not immediately return a call for comment on Friday morning. A spokeswoman at Morgan Stanley did not return a request for comment.
The team’s departure also underscores an apparent vulnerability in Morgan Stanley’s suburban New Jersey provinces as the company has shifted branch and complex managers.
Merrill in March scooped up what insiders said was the second-largest team at the Paramus South branch when Michael Greenstone and John Araneo joined its Glen Rock, NJ, branch.
Morgan Stanley’s Paramus South branch has been without a manager since November, when a manager was put on leave while broker Barry Connell, who was subsequently arrested for allegedly stealing around $5 million from a client, was on the lam. Morgan Stanley this week realigned its New Jersey complexes, expanding the group managed by Short Hills complex head John Campbell. Former Paramus complex manager Rich Less has not yet been assigned to a new position.
Reichert and his team joined Morgan Stanley from UBS Financial Services in 2008, where he had worked for 25 years, according to Finra’s BrokerCheck. Reichert began his brokerage career at Investors Diversified Services in 1977.
Lotito and Aiello began their careers with UBS in 1990 and 2000, respectively, while Lindsay Reichert joined the team at Morgan Stanley in 2010, according to their BrokerCheck histories. None of the team members have disclosures noted in the database.