Broker-dealer Bolton bags Merrill Lynch team

Bolton Global Capital has recruited a $173 million team from Merrill Lynch Wealth Management’s Miami office, Citywire Americas can reveal. This is the firm’s fourth recruitment from the global wealth manager in the last six months and second this month.

Alex Astudillo joined the independent broker-dealer’s Miami offices after 14 years with Merrill Lynch. Astudillo will be joined by Angela Canas, who will manage client support operations for the newly dubbed Private Wealth Advisors team. Astudillo managed $173 million in assets from clients Ecuador, Mexico and other Latin American countries and produced $1.8 million in annual revenues.

With this acquisition, Bolton is looking to ‘establish its position as a premier destination for wirehouse teams [with $100 million or more in AUM] transitioning to the independent business model,’ it said.

The independent broker-dealer has benefited from Merrill Lynch’s move to cut down its international business with a new focus on the ultra-high net worth in 29 countries, specifically within Latin America and Canada.

Bolton has directly recruited four teams with a total of $620 million from Merrill Lynch since the announcement in July 2015.

Over the past three years, the firm’s Miami office has acquired seven major teams from Merrill Lynch and a half dozen other teams from Morgan Stanley, RBC Wealth Management as well as Citi and HSBC Private Banks. The firm’s international assets under management are over $3 billion.

It has also leased additional space at its Brickell location to accommodate its growth.

Merrill moves

In July 2015 Merrill Lynch announced it would double its minimum account size on non-US accounts from $500,000 to $1 million for existing clients starting in January. The move has led to a number of its 300 international advisors to leave the bank as they could no longer service their existing clients under the company’s new rules.

Merrill Lynch declined to comment on this specific departure. It is understood the firm expected exits as it focuses on advisers with ultra-wealthy clients in countries where it can responsibly and sustainably advise them under current regulatory restrictions. It is also recruiting advisors to service its core markets.