Merrill Lynch, continuing to attract talent to its upper tier of brokers serving clients with more than $10 million in investable assets, bagged a big gun in the last week. Michael Russ, a large producer who oversees several billion in assets—along with his team—moved to Merrill from Goldman Sachs, Merrill officials confirmed Thursday. Russ, said to have production north of $10 million in the last twelve months, will be heading a private wealth management team in Dallas, where he’s based.
The firm has aggressively promoted its segmentation strategy, which stratifies clients according to their investable assets—those on the lowest-end utilize call centers; those with $100,000 and up with financial advisors, and those on the top with private wealth managers, a Merrill designation geared towards those who do work related to trust and estate planning and other complex issues. As of the beginning of the year, the firm had approximately $314 billion in assets from clients with $10 million or more.
Goldman has seen large producers such as Russ and Sanford Katz, an $8 million Goldman producer, who left for UBS PaineWebber a couple of months ago, defect as the firm pushes for even higher yearly production figures.