Morgan Stanley has grabbed its second multi-billion-dollar team from Merrill Lynch in less than a month.

Morgan lured the Brice Group with $4.5 billion in assets away from Merrill, according to a released statement. The Brice Group, based in Birmingham, Mich., and helmed by brothers Brian P. Brice and Timothy M. Brice, made the move under advisement from Diamond Consultants. Both had nearly $8 million in combined production while at Merrill.

Earlier this month, Morgan plucked another multi-billion-dollar team from Merrill: Advisors Michael Torpey and Charles Malamut, who joined Morgan's Northfield, N.J., office. Both managed $1.1 billion, and had a combined annual production of about $3.5 million.

'MAJOR COUP'

“It’s a major coup for Morgan Stanley on a lot of levels,” says Mindy Diamond, president of the Chester, N.J.-based Diamond Consultants. “The size is a major coup, but more than that, the reason they moved. They believed they would have a better business platform within Morgan Stanley’s Graystone."

The Brices, who spent their entire careers with Merrill, joined Morgan’s Graystone Consulting arm, which advises institutions and ultra-high net worth clients. “Leaving Merrill Lynch was a huge decision, a painstaking decision for them,” says Diamond.

Merrill Lynch did not return calls for comment on the move.

Joining the Brices at Morgan are Rebecca Wolfe, vice president and group director; Ray Fortin, vice president and business development director; Stephanie Mills, institutional consulting associate; Diane Roegner, senior client service associate and Julie Pawlowski, consulting group analyst.

“The team is a strong new asset for us and reinforces our commitment to this business, as well as our goal to expand our footprint in the U.S.,” said Marc Brookman, managing director and head of Graystone Consulting in a statement.

“It’s a big deal,” Diamond adds. “It’s not every day a $4.5 billion team makes a move.”

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