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$230M Wells Fargo team joins Raymond James' indie channel

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A Wells Fargo network team managing $230 million in client assets left for the independent channel of Raymond James.

Lisa McIntire Shaw of Cygnus Asset Management in Charlotte, North Carolina, moved her and her father Clif McIntire’s practice from Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network to Raymond James Financial Services, their new firm announced Thursday. They changed companies in January, per FINRA BrokerCheck records.

Raymond James’ independent arm, which represents about 60% of its adviser headcount, has expanded by 417 brokers to 4,048 in the past three fiscal years, according to its 2016 annual report. At least six brokers, including four from Cygnus, have joined as independent contractors so far in 2017.

Shaw, 50, and her father, who is still active at the firm in his 80s, began exploring a switch this past fall and settled on Raymond James because its technical resources better suited the team’s 300 clients, she says.

“We see ourselves as an independent firm that has a robust back office that is spending money on the things we want them to spend it on,” Shaw says. Raymond James also offered more flexibility with services like reports for clients with the client’s grandchildren’s accounts listed on top, she adds.

A spokeswoman for Wells Fargo Advisors declined to comment.

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The father-daughter duo went independent with Wells Fargo in 2009 after launching the team at Morgan Keegan in 2002, according to Shaw. Raymond James acquired Morgan Keegan in 2012.

Shaw and her father have been practicing together since she started at PaineWebber in 1992, and her father has been in the business 54 years.

The Cygnus team, which includes fellow advisers Nathan Peterson and Jonathan Lindner, officially came aboard Raymond James on Jan. 27, according to BrokerCheck records.

Office manager Denise Avery, client services manager Grace Roakes, business analyst Brent McIntire, and assistants Kay McKay and Carrol McIntire make up the remainder of the team at Cygnus. The team, named for the swan-shaped northern constellation, focuses on discretionary accounts, Shaw says.

Peterson, the third partner of the team, began his career at Morgan Keegan in 2004, following the team to Wells Fargo five years later. Lindner, a nine-year industry veteran, came aboard at Wells Fargo in 2014 after stints at Bank of America and E-Trade.

Shaw found the name of the practice while thumbing through an old dictionary in search of a way to express the northwestern quadrant of an investment scattergram, the section with less risk and more return. She settled on the Milky Way constellation containing the Northern Cross.

“We kind of have an internal saying: Fear the swan,” she says, noting the team also refers to its meetings as bevies, as in a bevy of birds. “Swans are elegant and fierce. We fiercely defend our clients.”

Other independent broker-dealers have also been growing in recent years. Wells Fargo has enlarged its independent channel by 234 advisers to 1,404 in the past two years, according to the firm.

The firm’s total adviser headcount fell 3% in the first quarter despite a 22% surge in wealth management profits. LPL Financial, the nation’s largest IBD, bulged by 323 advisers in the past year alone to reach 14,377 overall, its latest earnings report shows.

In contrast, the franchise channel at Ameriprise contracted by 38 advisers in 2016, according to the company, which added at least 27 advisers to its employee and independent ranks in the first quarter.

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