In the latest round of advisor trades, Merrill Lynch gained talent that previously managed $800 million, only to lose advisors with a full $1 billion on their books.
Merrill recently pulled a total of four teams away from its fellow wirehouses.
The biggest, Tony Murphy and Lewis Matthews, ran a big book for Wells Fargo in the San Francisco area -- $342 million -- but generated a lower-than-average 0.3% of that amount in annual production.
Michael Borza of Virginia Beach also managed a good-sized amount of AUM for UBS -- $174 million -- but again only produced 0.5% of that amount in annual commissions and fees.
The other two teams came from Citigroup originally but were absorbed into Morgan Stanley in its post-crisis merger with Smith Barney.
Bernard Orbach, Erik Vatter, and Matthew Groff collectively managed $225 million in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and generated a much healthier 1% of that AUM in annual production.
Vatter and Groff each spent a few years at Morgan Stanley in around 2003 to 2006 before coming to Citigroup. Orbach had been at Citi since the early 1990s.
And in Austin, Texas, James Wolslager III was generating a very impressive 1.6% of his $70 million AUM for Morgan Stanley before making the switch to Merrill. Again, he was originally part of the Citi / Smith Barney side of the "family."
Net losses: Wells Fargo $342 million, Morgan $295 million, UBS $174 million.
But while Merrill was courting all these advisors, it lost a truly big team, Washington's Paul Pagnato and David Karp.
Between them, Pagnato and Karp ran over $1 billion. Now they've gone to HighTower and more independent horizons.
Net loss: Merrill Lynch $200 million.