Stifel recruiting roars back with $1.5B in hires from Merrill Lynch and Wells Fargo

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After weathering a recruiting dry spell, Stifel is back at it, picking up 10 advisors who managed approximately $1.5 billion in combined assets at their old firms, a spokesman confirmed.

Stifel’s gains were Merrill Lynch and Wells Fargo’s losses, and are yet another indication that advisors are willing to switch firms despite limitations on travel and face-to-face meetings imposed by the ongoing health crisis.

Like its competitors, Stifel experienced a recruiting slowdown when the global pandemic hit the U.S., picking up no advisors during part of March and all of April as governors and mayors urged or mandated work-at-home policies.

But although the outbreak continues — and is gaining steam in some Southern and Western states — recruiting moves have ticked upward in recent weeks. RBC just announced that it hired a $500 million St. Louis-based team away from Morgan Stanley. And Janney Montgomery Scott signed on two teams managing a combined $880 million from Merrill Lynch and Raymond James, respectively.

The largest of Stifel’s latest recruits is an ex-Merrill Lynch team that managed $935 million. It is composed of advisors Blase Sparma, Stephen Long Jr., Brad Ripplemeyer and Hampton Ballard. They made the move last week and will staff a new Stifel office in Venice, Florida.

Sparma and Long had been at Merrill Lynch since starting their careers in 2000 and 2004, respectively, according to FINRA BrokerCheck records. Ripplemeyer began his advisory career at Smith Barney in 2000, moving to Merrill in 2012. Ballard has spent the entirety of his four-year career at Merrill.

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Stifel’s other new hires all came at the expense of Wells Fargo. Among them are a father-son duo who managed $310 million in client assets at the wirehouse. Steve Bottomley and his son Daniel joined the firm in Anderson, Indiana, approximately 45 miles northeast of Indianapolis. The elder Bottomley has been in the business since 1985, according to BrokerCheck. His son joined him at Wells Fargo two years ago.

In the same location, Stifel hired ex-Wells advisor Paul Church, who was responsible for $60 million in client assets. Church has 34 years of industry experience.

Meanwhile, in Great Falls, Montana, Stifel added Mark Finnicum, who oversaw $78 million in client assets at Wells Fargo. He had worked at the wirehouse since moving there from Edward Jones in 2013.

John Wood, another recent Stifel hire, also started his career at Edward Jones. He later worked at UBS before moving to A.G. Edwards, a predecessor firm to Wells Fargo, in 2007. Wood is based in Zanesville, Ohio, where he oversaw $56 million in client assets at Wells Fargo.

And, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Stifel brought aboard Jeffrey Adams. He oversaw $37 million while at Wells Fargo where he had worked since 2009.

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