Morgan Stanley said Wednesday it had landed the Brice Group, a $4.5 billion advisor team, from Merrill Lynch.

The team joining Morgan Stanley this month in Birmingham, Mich., includes brothers Brian and Tim Brice, both managing directors and Merrill veterans. The Brices and their team will work under Morgan Stanley's Graystone Consulting unit, which serves institutional investment management consultants.

The team handles corporate accounts, endowments and foundations, health-care organizations, insurance companies, state and local governments, Taft-Hartley funds, family offices and high-net-worth individuals, Morgan Stanley said.

The group had been part of Merrill’s Global Institutional Consulting unit, working out of Bloomfield Hills, Mich. Both Brices were Merrill Lynch lifers. Tim Brice started at the firm in 1986 and Brian Brice in 1990.

Neither was available for comment early Thursday.

“They were very loyal to Merrill Lynch,” said recruiter Mindy Diamond, of Diamond Consultants LLC, who placed the team with Morgan Stanley.

“The decision to leave was not made lightly by any stretch of the imagination,” she said.

The Brices felt they would have more control over the client experience with the Graystone unit, Diamond added, and would have more flexibility to make decisions about pricing and what kinds of clients to serve.

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