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Bank of America Hires $2.5 Billion Adviser From Morgan Stanley

Bank of America Hires $2.5 Billion Adviser From Morgan Stanley
Bank of America Corp.’s U.S. Trust unit imposed new employment terms last year, seeking to curb the ability of departing brokers to solicit clients. Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg

Oct. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Bank of America Corp., the lender that moved last year to quell concern that top-performing brokers would defect, recruited a financial adviser from Morgan Stanley who manages about $2.5 billion for clients.

Rebecca Rothstein, who manages money for wealthy investors in Beverly Hills, California, joined Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch unit with her 11-person team on Oct. 19, Matthew Card, a spokesman for the bank, said today in an e-mail. Rothstein was ranked the No. 2 female adviser in the U.S. by Barron’s magazine and worked for Morgan Stanley and Smith Barney since 1999.

Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch advisers and Morgan Stanley’s Smith Barney unit became targets for recruiters after the two banks took over the brokerages. Bank of America’s U.S. Trust unit imposed new employment terms last year, seeking to curb the ability of departing brokers to solicit clients.

Greg Fleming, president of Morgan Stanley’s wealth-management unit, has been seeking to avert defections since the bank finished integrating its brokerage unit with Smith Barney in July, an effort that included developing a technology system for all financial advisers.

David Darnell, Bank of America’s co-chief operating officer who oversees Merrill Lynch, told the unit’s employees last year he’ll do anything including “get out of the way” to help them improve results. The brokerage, rescued during the 2008 financial crisis by the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank’s takeover bid, had been beset by speculation that brokers would leave as their new parent changed Merrill’s culture and pay.

Morgan Stanley had 16,829 financial advisers last month, down from 16,934 at the end of the second quarter.

Christine Jockle, a spokeswoman for New York-based Morgan Stanley, declined to comment. The change was reported earlier by Reuters.

To contact the reporter on this story: Zeke Faux in New York at zfaux@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Scheer at dscheer@bloomberg.net

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