Merrill Lynch rounded up 20 advisors managing more than $1.8 billion from rivals UBS, J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley and Barclays, a Merrill spokeswoman said.

The majority of the new hires joined Merrill's Private Banking & Investment Group, which serves ultrahigh-net-worth clients. The advisors joining that elite unit managed about $1 billion in assets, a Merrill spokeswoman said.

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