$350M Wells Fargo team goes indie with Raymond James

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A Wells Fargo team that managed approximately $350 million in client assets left the wirehouse to form an independent practice with Raymond James, according to the firm.

The financial advisors are the latest to exit a wirehouse. A number of brokers, seeking what they perceive to be greater freedom and flexibility, and in some cases higher payouts, have been leaving big firms for independence or regional broker-dealers.

"Being in the industry for over 30 years, you know what works best for you and your clients, and Raymond James offers us the freedom to decide how to run our practice," Scot Morris, one of the former Wells Fargo advisors, said in a statement.

Morris and his colleagues Alex Brand, Alicia Borghi and Barbara Wiltshire operate their new independent practice as Z3 Capital Partners in Richmond, Virginia. They made the move on December 1, 2017, according to FINRA BrokerCheck records.

The team previously generated about $2.5 million in annual revenue, according to Raymond James.

Morris started his career at Branch, Cabell & Co. in 1986. He later worked for RBC before transitioning to Wells Fargo in 2010, per BrokerCheck.

Wiltshire and Borghi also started their careers at Branch, Cabell & Co. in 1983 and 1994, respectively. They transitioned with Morris to RBC and Wells Fargo. Brand joined the team in 2015 per BrokerCheck.

In making the move, Morris also cited Raymond James' investment research and platform as deciding factors.

Raymond James, which has been on a long-running recruiting push, now has about 7,500 advisors and total client assets of $727 billion, according to the company.

A Wells Fargo spokeswoman was not available for immediate comment.

Wells Fargo, which has about 1,400 IBD advisors, recently removed surcharges its employee advisors had to pay to transition into the independent channel.

"We feel that we have the best IBD on the Street," Kent Christian, president of Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network, told Financial Planning on the sidelines of the FSI OneVoice conference in Grapevine, Texas. "If they are interested in independence, we want to make sure they are talking to the home team."

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