Former First Republic Advisors Continue To Look For Greener Pastures (than JPM)

In a dynamic series of transitions within the California wealth
management landscape, Morgan Stanley experienced both gains and losses involving former First Republic advisors. Gregory G. Zappas, a seasoned broker who had produced $2 million in annual revenue from $500 million in client assets, recently joined Morgan Stanley from JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s brokerage unit in Newport Beach, California.

Zappas, who had initially left UBS for First Republic, found a new home in Morgan Stanley’s private wealth management unit, renowned for managing assets for ultra-wealthy clients, totaling over $619 billion.

Zappas, with a career spanning back to 1997, showcased his expertise during a ten-year tenure at U.S. Trust, followed by another four years at Merrill
Lynch before joining UBS in 2011. Although Zappas considered an offer from
Wells Fargo Advisors, Morgan Stanley swiftly secured his move with a more compelling proposition, according to sources familiar with the transition.

The attrition of former First Republic brokers has not shown signs of slowing post-JPMorgan’s acquisition. Advisors like Zappas are navigating integration challenges and encountering typical red tape associated with
bank-owned firms.

Simultaneously, Thomas E. Beaty, another former First Republic advisor, made a move to Citizens Financial Group from J.P. Morgan in San Francisco. As an ultra-high net worth senior advisor at Citizens Financial Group’s Clarfeld Citizens Private Wealth unit, Beaty brings 25 years of experience to his role. Previously serving as a “wealth advisor” at First Republic, Beaty played a pivotal role in business development, sourcing customers for the firm.

Citizens Financial Group has been on an aggressive hiring spree, recruiting former relationship managers from First Republic for a new private banking unit, distinct from Clarfeld. In December, the group appointed Thomas Metzger, the former head of recruiting at First Republic, to attract veteran brokers to support the customers brought in by those relationship managers.

Meanwhile, UBS made its move by recruiting Steve Nassau and client associate Kristin Landis from Morgan Stanley in Irvine, California. Nassau, who had
managed $227 million in assets and generated around $1.3 million in revenue, joined UBS’s Pacific Desert market, reporting to Irvine Market Director
Howard Woo. Nassau, whose career traces back to Morgan Stanley’s E.F. Hutton
& Co. predecessor in 1980, brings a wealth of experience, having navigated various firms before rejoining Morgan Stanley in 1992.

These transitions underscore the fluidity within the wealth management sector, where experienced advisors seek opportunities aligned with their
career goals and firms aim to bolster their talent pool. The strategic moves reflect the ongoing competition among major players in the industry, each vying for top-tier advisors and a competitive edge in delivering comprehensive wealth management services to affluent clients.

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