Fifteen-year Merrill Lynch veteran Carma Wentzlaff is the new head of the firm’s Greater Denver market, according to an internal memo on Wednesday from Carole Wentz, herself a peripatetic manager who moved from California in March to run the new Dallas-based Mountain South division.
Wentzlaff is relocating from St. Augustine, Florida, where she was chief operating officer of Merrill’s ‘community markets’ unit of around 100 offices in geographies that are not in Bank of America’s footprint. She also briefly served as market executive in Indianapolis, according to the memo. At the start of her Merrill career, which began in 2004, Wentzlaff worked as a client associate and client relationship manager, the memo said.
In a tighter geographic shift, Wentz also announced that Todd McClure is shifting to Houston from Tulsa to run Merrill’s “Galleria rapid growth market.” McLure joined Merrill in 2000 after a 20-year financial services career, and for the past year-and-a-half has been market executive of Merrill Wealth’s Oklahoma market, according to the memo.
The Houston Galleria office includes around 150 advisors in five offices, according to its website. The manager position has been open since June when Merrill shifted Silas Girgis run the smaller Fort Worth complex.
The memo did not discuss replacements for Wentzlaff and McClure in their former positions, and Merrill spokespeople did not respond to requests for comment. Earlier this year, Merrill shifted Jacksonville, Fla. complex head Tony Kurlas to become “strategy executive” for community markets, a position that one insider said put him in charge of the unit and of Wentzlaff.
“I am confident that Carma’s and Todd’s experience and proven leadership throughout their careers will be an asset to the Great Denver and Houston Galleria markets,” Wentz wrote in the memo.
In a sign that Merrill is continuing to support its community markets strategy, the firm earlier this summer hired William J. “Billy” Pulice in Bridgeport, West Virginia. Pulice worked for the past decade at Wells Fargo Advisors in Bridgeport, West Virginia but spent the first 12 years of his career at Merrill, according to his BrokerCheck history.
“He wanted to finish his career here with some people he knew and felt comfortable with,” said J. David Jackson, the producing manager of the Clarksburg/Bridgeport office.
Pulice did not return a call for comment, and Jackson declined to comment on his production statistics.
Merrill Lynch Wealth head Andy Sieg recently reiterated that the firm is continuing its two-year-old moratorium on hiring experienced brokers, while making exceptions for its small-market push and for relative novices with three to 10 years of experience who join its “Accelerated Growth” program.
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