Mindy Diamond Quoted
By Elizabeth MacBride
A seven-person advisory team managing $550 million broke away from Merrill Lynch in Portland, Maine, to join HighTower Advisors on Friday.
The team, Simmons Wilkes Investment Advisors, extends HighTower’s reach to the largest city Down East. The advisors declined to be interviewed. HighTower says they are too busy setting up shop to take phone calls.
Mindy Diamond, CEO of Diamond Consultants in Chester, N.J., indicates that BofA may have added get-out-while-the getting-is-good fuel to the breakaway fire with its announcement that U.S. Trust advisors must give a 60-day notice before leaving — and refrain from soliciting clients for an additional eight months. The cooling off period is known on Wall Street as a garden leave. U.S. Trust had 2,274 advisors as of Dec. 31.
“I have spoken with a number of Merrill advisors since Thursday when this was announced and the internal chatter is all about concern that if B of A did this to the U.S. Trust advisors, what’s to stop them from attempting the same with the Merrill ones,” Diamond said. “That garden leave provision is anti-entrepreneurial and the spirit in which advisors are used to working.”