First Republic Bank’s wealth management unit reeled in 11 wealth management teams in 2021, the firm reported Friday, compared to eight in 2020, which was a particularly difficult year in which to recruit and hire financial advisers given the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.
First Republic’s total wealth management assets at the end of December were $279.4 billion, according to the company, compared to $194.5 billion at the end of 2020, a 12-month increase of 43.7%. Net client inflows accounted for $51 billion of the 2021 assets, First Republic said.
And First Republic has started 2022 in hiring mode, reporting this month that it recruited two longtime Merrill Lynch financial advisers based in New York, Stephen Stabile and Adam Hirsch. Stabile was a 17-year veteran of Merrill and Hirsch a 15-year veteran.
“The cost of hiring teams is not appreciably changed in the last year versus prior years or more recently,” Bob Thornton, president of private wealth management at First Republic, said during a conference call Friday to discuss earnings. Thornton said that the bank’s integrated banking and wealth management model made it “an attractive destination” for veteran financial advisers.
The fourth quarter was particularly strong, he noted, with wealth management assets under management increasing by $28 billion, with nearly 60% of the increase coming from net client inflows.
Over the past decade, First Republic’s wealth management group has been a destination for wirehouse advisers looking to leave Wall Street for a smaller firm and also get paid a significant bonus to do so. The bank will pay on the high end of bonuses for financial advisers in markets in which it’s looking to expand, according to recruiters.
First Republic Bank was part of Merrill Lynch when Bank of America Corp. took over Merrill during the credit crisis in 2010; Bank of America later sold First Republic to a group of private investors, who then took it public.
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