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Merrill Fills Complex Manager Vacancies in Texas and Florida


June 12, 2019

Merrill Lynch Wealth Management has shifted two managers to fill market leadership posts in Texas and North Florida following departures and promotions of their predecessors.

Sabeen Villani, who until Monday was associate market executive of its Miami/Fort Lauderdale offices, has been promoted to market executive for North Florida.

Based in Jacksonville, she is overseeing about 150 brokers, and reports to Southeast division manager Eric Schimpf, who announced her promotion on a social media posting. Villani, whose LinkedIn profile says she has spent her 12-year professional career with Merrill following receipt of her master’s in business, did not respond to a request for comment.

She replaces Tony Kurlas, who moved from the Jacksonville market post in April to a company-wide role as “strategy executive” for Merrill’s new Community Markets sector. The unit manages advisors in about 100 locations that do not have Bank of America branches and supervisors.

Villani began her career at Merrill in 2006 as an assistant vice president for global securities-based lending at the retail brokerage giant’s Princeton, N.J. campus, according to her LinkedIn profile. She worked in a number of management and strategy roles before becoming associate market executive in Miami in October 2016.

In Texas, Merrill appointed 23-year industry veteran Chris Miller to run its Dallas complex of some 300 advisors, according to people at the Frisco, Tex., office where he is based. Miller, who joined Merrill from Morgan Stanley in 2004, had been complex manager of five offices in suburban Philadelphia.

Miller replaced Michael Armondo, who left in March after spending his 25-year brokerage career at Merrill.

Armondo has joined Rockefeller Capital Management to run its new Dallas office and to recruit advisors throughout the Southwest. The New York-based wealth management firm, which is run by former Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley executive Greg Fleming, has been aggressively recruiting wirehouse advisors.

Merrill Lynch Wealth President Andy Sieg said on Wednesday that the Bank of America-owned company remains resolute about cutting expensive recruiting, relying for customer asset growth on incentives to managers to improve experienced-broker retention and growth of their books. The policies appear to have created some turmoil, as several Merrill managers have left while others have been shifted to fill geographic holes. In April, the Bank of America-owned broker-dealer shifted Carole Wentz from managing branches in southern California to oversee its Texas Mountain South region. She was replaced by San Diego complex manager Joseph Holsinger, leaving holes there as well as in other markets across the country.



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