Rockefeller Recruiting Expansion Continues; Bank Teams In Focus

Rockefeller doesn’t seem to have any interest in slowing down its aggressive focus on recruiting large, tenured teams. Since 2018 much of that focus has been pointed at the like of Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, and UBS. Lately, Rockefeller has found fertile ground in the private banking sector, luring large teams from First Republic, Truist amongst others.

Rockefeller’s latest recruiting win comes from the aforementioned private banking sector in the south. The Lewis Group, a wealth management team overseeing approximately $2.3 billion in assets, has unveiled plans to establish a new office for Rockefeller in Richmond, according to an inside source.

At the helm of this group is John B. Lewis, accompanied by advisors Richard T. Blackwell, Joseph W. Bartholomew III, and Kylie Roman. The team has seamlessly transitioned, bringing along key support staff, including Lindsay Dillion, Trevor Adams, Michael “Mikey” Hofmeister, Catherine Elrod, Lauren Hershey, and Jessica Taylor.

This move positions the Lewis Group as the latest addition to Rockefeller’s Southeast division, headed by Kristen Sario, a former manager at Morgan Stanley who has significantly bolstered recruitment efforts since joining Rockefeller in 2022. Sario’s division has recently welcomed a $3.3 million UBS team in North Carolina, a $3 million Merrill Lynch broker in Bethesda, Maryland, and several teams contributing nearly $15 million in combined revenue from Merrill, UBS, and regional firm Janney Montgomery Scott.

Having previously been affiliated with regional firm BB&T Scott & Stringfellow, which later became part of Truist through a merger with SunTrust in 2019, the Lewis Group anticipates benefiting from the more adaptable environment offered by a smaller firm like Rockefeller.

The team’s departure from BB&T follows a recent trend, with another former BB&T team managing $650 million making a move to RBC Wealth Management-U.S. in North Carolina earlier this month. John B. Lewis, with a career spanning 32 years, has worked across various wirehouse and regional firms, including Lehman Brothers, Smith Barney, UBS, SunTrust, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, and BB&T.

Richard T. Blackwell commenced his career at Scott & Stringfellow in 2005, staying on after its acquisition by BB&T in 2013. Joseph W. Bartholomew III initiated his career at UBS in 1996, also gaining experience at SunTrust before joining Morgan Stanley Smith Barney in 2009 alongside Lewis. Kylie Roman began her journey at Northwestern Mutual and had been with BB&T since 2014.

Rockefeller’s strategic expansion continues, with over 100 teams added since its 2018 recapitalization supported by Viking Global Investors. The firm, based in New York and valued at $3 billion after raising $622 million last year, aims to reach 200 teams across approximately 40 markets by 2025, signaling its ambitious growth trajectory in the wealth management sector.

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