RBC Seeks Advisors for New California Operation, Hires Away Merrill Team For Starters

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RBC Wealth Management has hired a four-member team from Bank of America Investments/Merrill Lynch to help open its new Palm Desert, California office, where RBC plans to hire more financial advisors.

The team includes Robert Iglehart, Gabriel Aguirre and Ryan Wilson, who told On Wall Street that what clinched the team's decision to move was a particular exchange with RBC U.S. Wealth Management Chief Executive John Taft.

When asked by the team where he saw the firm in five years, Taft said he wants it "better" for all of the firm's practices instead of just target goals or profit margin. "It was a different mindset and it really resonated with us," said Wilson, now a vice president and financial advisor at RBC. "They very much embrace the advisor and the advisor team's ability to brand themselves."

The new RBC Palm Desert office serves affluent towns about two hours east of Los Angeles, says Reuters, , which noted that the team of Merrill Lynch advisers in question had helped manage $280 million of client assets and generated more than $1.9 million of revenue in the past year.

RBC Wealth Management has also announced plans to further expand the Palm Desert team, Reuters said.

Wilson said that the Merrill team's search for a new home included other wirehouse firms, regional firms, and firms executing roll-up strategies and independent models.

"We had one executive of another firm tell us that he's never met a team that did as much due diligence as we did, and I don't know that he meant it as a compliment," Wilson said with a laugh.

RBC Wealth Management, a unit of Toronto-based Royal Bank of Canada, has almost 2,000 financial consultants in the U.S. and more than $227 billion in assets under management.

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