$100M Morgan Stanley adviser joins Steward Partners for 'flexibility'

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Among the reasons adviser Bob Solano left Morgan Stanley to rejoin former colleagues at Steward Partners was a simple one: He wanted to hear "yes" more often.

"The most common phrase at the wirehouse is 'No,'" says the adviser of 18 years. “Here, with the additional flexibility, I can get more done based on what the client need is, not the corporate directive.

Solano, who oversaw more than $100 million in client assets at his former firm, is the latest recruit to join Steward Partners, which is affiliated with Raymond James. The independent firm has been on a hiring streak. In June, the firm picked up three advisers from Wells Fargo and Janney Montgomery Scott. They collectively managed more than $270 million in client assets.

A Morgan Stanley spokeswoman confirmed Solano's departure, but declined to comment further.

Solano joined Steward Partners’ recently opened Boston office, its 10th. The branch, built for about seven teams, will likely be full next year, according to CEO Jim Gold.

"We're talking to a number of people in the market," the executive says.

The Washington-based firm's recruiting efforts have picked up the pace in recent months; Gold says the firm welcomed more new hires in the first six months of this year than it did in all of 2016. Additionally, Steward Partners may also benefit from recruiting cutbacks at three of the wirehouses.

"We're on pace for a record 2017," Gold says.

For his part, Solano says he was inspired to make his move because of the firm's management (Gold once served as his manager at Smith Barney) as well as its platform and affiliation with Raymond James.

He says he considered other wirehouses and smaller RIAs, and even had "several offers on the table." But after several years of searching, Solano says he was more comfortable with Steward Partners' management.

Solano had been with Morgan Stanley, or its predecessor firm, since starting his career in 1998.

Since transitioning last week, Solano has been busy explaining to clients why he switched firms. But he hopes to add a partner to further grow his practice, which is largely focused on financial planning for clients and their families.

"That's one of the reasons I came,” he says. “I want to expand the relationships I have with local accounting firms. And to serve them properly, I'll need to add some depth to the team."

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