Merrill Lynch recruited a team from Morgan Stanley that managed $1.2 billion in client assets.

The nine-person team, led by Bruce Munster, generated $5.8 million in annual revenue while at Morgan. They join Merrill’s elite Private Banking & Investment Group in Century City, Calif., where they report to Michael Rogers, managing director.

A top producer, Munster was recently featured as No. 7 in On Wall Street’s annual ranking of the Top 40 Advisors Under 40.

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Raymond James’ $930 million purchase of Morgan Keegan’s brokerage company has gotten the financial advisor world buzzing as to how it will all work out, OnWallStreet.com reports. Recruiters say that the two first are a good “cultural fit,” but also say that the retention bonuses Raymond James has offered to Morgan Keegan’s financial advisors may help determine whether those staffers will stay.

“I think that the Morgan Keegan/Raymond James merger will work,” Mickey Wasserman, president of Michael Wasserman & Associates, tells OnWallStreet.com. “Unless they woefully underpay on a retention package, I think their top performers will get what they want. It’s still open.”

“Everybody’s taking a wait and see attitude right now, and I believe that there’s a bit of relief that a private equity firm did not come into play,” Wasserman says. “I think that this is a good marriage … Similar culture, similar types of advisors, and Morgan Keegan FAs can only take advantage of better technology.”

Mindy Diamond, who serves as president and CEO for Diamond Consultants, agreed on the culture, saying that Raymond James and Morgan Keegan are “two like cultures, both Southern based, and I actually think it’s a good match.” She says that “in the months that Morgan Keegan advisors were waiting for a home, if they were out exploring their options, almost all of them were out talking to Raymond James anyway.”

Ron Edde, senior executive recruiter for Armstrong Financial Group, says that the “people on the low end of the production scale, and that’s $350,000 and below, are real disappointed,” while the “people at the very top end, the $1 million plus people, at least the ones I have in my pipeline, are equally disappointed.” He says that “the middle seem to be pretty happy, the $450,000 to $750,000 guys.”

Written by Lisa Swan

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