Merrill Bellows in Bellevue, Recruiting Morgan Stanley Teams with $2.3 Bln
Eight brokers with long careers at Morgan Stanley and predecessor firms and about $2.34 billion of client assets jumped to Merrill Lynch in Bellevue, Wash., on Friday.
The group had operated in three different teams at Morgan Stanley’s 108th Ave. branch in the town that Microsoft made rich and famous, but joined together with 14 associates to open a new Private Banking and Investment Group (PBIG) branch for Merrill.
“The expansion of [the] technology sector, life sciences industry, and venture capital community has created substantial demand for private banking and wealth management services,” Tracy Murphy, PBIG’s Pacific Northwest Regional Managing Director said in a prepared statement about the new office.
James B. Ferguson and Jason Weese, who operated on separate teams at Morgan Stanley, together accounted for $2.28 billion of the new team’s client assets, according to Barron’s 2016 list of top advisors. (The publication, which lists controversial Merrill producer Phil Scott in Bellevue as the state’s Number One producer, does not specify whether a single advisor is credited for all of his or her team’s assets.)
Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley spokespersons confirmed the moves. Chris Ishii, Morgan Stanley’s Bellevue complex manager did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the moves or how far along the teams were to completing their retention packages.
Weese and his partner Mark S. Harris led a seven-person team at Morgan Stanley, all of whom made the move. Harris, who began his brokerage career at Dean Witter in 1980, joined forces with Weese at Smith Barney in 1998 after sojourns at Piper, Jaffray and Prudential Securities, according to his BrokerCheck history.
Weese, who worked within Morgan Stanley’s Consulting Group unit for family offices and small institutions, had been with Smith Barney and its brokerage predecessor Shearson Lehman Brothers since May 1993. He and Harris were absorbed into Morgan Stanley in 2009 as part of its acquisition of Smith Barney.
Ferguson moved along with colleagues Alan Lubner and Traci Bumpus, a team that operated at Morgan Stanley as the Gateway Group. Lubner had been with Smith Barney since 1994 and Ferguson since 1998, according to their BrokerCheck histories, while Bumpus joined the Citigroup unit in 2000.
The third former Morgan Stanley team includes Todd Kelly and Matt Bridge, who had been with Smith Barney respectively since 1997 and 1998, and their partner Kristen Buxton. She joined Morgan Stanley directly in 2011 after more than a decade at UBS Financial Services, Merrill (from 1999 to 2003) and predecessor firms of Ameriprise Financial.