Two Merrill Lynch advisors overseeing $160 million in client assets bolted to launch a Snowden Lane Partners office, according to their new firm.

Ryan Kirby and Chris Hayes, the Kirby-Hayes Group, joined the growing hybrid RIA in Salisbury, Maryland. The pair, who opened Snowden Lane’s eighth office, will operate under the firm’s Bethesda location to form a team managing $450 million, the company announced last week.

“We are expanding our regional presence and the Kirby-Hayes group is yet another partnership that makes our independent model so successful,” Snowden Lane President Greg Franks said in a statement.

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A spokeswoman for Merrill Lynch didn’t respond to a request for comment on the move.

Ryan Kirby and Christopher Hayes, Snowden Lane Partners
Ryan Kirby (left) and Chris Hayes (right) opened a new office of Snowden Lane Partners in Salisbury, Maryland.

Kirby and Hayes, who had 21 years of experience at Merrill between them, make five ex-wirehouse advisors recruited by Snowden Lane so far this year.

Former Merrill executives founded the firm, whose majority owner is private equity fund Estancia Capital Partners, according to SEC filings. Hayes started his career at Merrill in 2009, while Kirby began his 13-year tenure with the firm in 2004, BrokerCheck records show.

“Snowden Lane’s values-driven culture and its mission to put clients first was a key factor in attracting us to the firm,” Kirby said in a statement.

Another former wirehouse broker, Michelle Begina of Morgan Stanley, exited the wirehouse to join a $400 million team at Snowden’s New York headquarters earlier this month. In late January, a Wells Fargo duo managing $125 million jumped to Snowden’s San Diego office.

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Tobias Salinger

Tobias Salinger

Tobias Salinger is an associate editor for Financial Planning, On Wall Street & Bank Investment Consultant.