Regional and independent firms are recruiting heavily from wirehouses, a trend that shows no sign of letting up anytime soon.
In recent weeks, advisors with $5.2 billion in AUM moved between firms. The biggest winners include Raymond James and Steward Partners, which is affiliated with the St. Petersburg, Florida-based brokerage. Both firms have been recruiting heavily and expanding branch offices. Steward Partners opened its 14th office in Houston by picking up an RBC team that managed $600 million.
The biggest losers include Merrill Lynch, Wells Fargo, RBC and UBS, as advisors overseeing millions of dollars in assets left for indie firms. A Merrill Lynch team overseeing $1 billion in client assets left to form an independent firm with help from Focus Financial. Several wirehouse executives have also jumped ship to work at fintech startups.
Scroll through to learn more about these advisor moves and others. For a look at our previous roundup, click here.
$1B team quits Merrill Lynch to go indie with Focus Financial
A Merrill Lynch team that managed over $1 billion in client assets quit to form an independent wealth management firm in Savannah, Georgia, with the backing of Focus Financial Partners.
Financial advisors Kelly Bouchillon, his wife Melissa, Emerson Ham and Edward Ambrose left Merrill Lynch to found Sound View Wealth Advisors.
None of the advisors in the group had ever switched firms before, according to FINRA BrokerCheck records. At 28 years of experience, Kelly Bouchillon has the longest career of the team. Nonetheless, they were motivated to make a change because Merrill Lynch had been evolving into a more bank-dominated entity, particularly after former Merrill Lynch head John Thiel retired, they say.
Steward Partners heads west, hiring $600M team from RBC
Steward Partners is going west.
The firm has opened its 14th office — its first away from the East Coast — by recruiting a team that previously managed $600 million in client assets at RBC, the independent firm says.
Advisor Randy Price and his son Matthew now staff Steward Partners' new branch in Houston. It’s the firm’s first location in Texas and represents a new stage of growth for the Washington, D.C.-based company, which is affiliated with Raymond James.
In ongoing talent drain, Wells Fargo loses half-billion team to RIA
Wells Fargo continues to hemorrhage talent. A team managing nearly half a billion dollars, led by Jeffrey Nuttall, has joined ReDefine Wealth Management, a private boutique RIA in its Denver office.
The move comes at a bad time for Wells Fargo’s wealth management division, which amid scandals and mounting regulatory scrutiny, has lost more than 300 advisors over the last year.
In his new role, Nuttall will serve as a managing partner. He formerly was the senior vice president of investments at Wells Fargo, where he worked for 20 years, and managed $525 million in assets in 2016, according to Barron’s. The move follows a year of high advisor attrition from the bank. Wells Fargo declined to comment on the team’s departure.
Merrill Lynch loses 2 teams managing $428M to rivals
Janney Montgomery Scott managed to poach a team with $128 million in client assets from Merrill Lynch. The Steinmetz Jackson Wealth Group will be a part of Janney’s Fort Lauderdale, Florida location.
Advisors Kenneth Steinmetz and James Jackson make up the Steinmetz Jackson Wealth Group. Between them, the pair has close to two decades of experience. Read more here.
An illuminated sign hangs above the entrance to the UBS Group AG headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, on Thursday, July 6, 2017. Switzerland is tightening capital requirements for PostFinance AG, Raiffeisen Schweiz and Zuercher Kantonalbank, three systemically important domestic banks, forcing them to set aside more funds to absorb losses and avoid government bailouts. Photographer: Michele Limina/Bloomberg
Post-protocol UBS recruits $400M team from Wells Fargo
UBS picked up a former Wells Fargo team that oversaw $400 million in client assets, a sign that the firm is still selectively hiring financial advisors three months after leaving the Broker Protocol.
The firm's newest hires generated $3.2 million in annual revenue and joined UBS in San Jose, California, a spokeswoman confirms. They will report to Eric Weider, a UBS branch manager.
Advisor attrition has persisted at Wells Fargo, even as the firm has chosen to remain in the Broker Protocol unlike rivals UBS and Morgan Stanley. The protocol is a 2004 industry accord that permits advisors to take basic client contact information with them when switching employers.
Amid ‘transformation,’ HD Vest grabs $220M Raymond James team
HD Vest Financial Services has poached a CPA and financial advisor whose practice amassed $220 million in assets under administration during 35 years with Raymond James.
Richard Mitchen and the three other advisors of the Baton Rouge, Louisiana-based practice joined the tax-focused independent broker-dealer after what HD Vest CEO Bob Oros describes as a “year of transformation.” Oros cites a shift to recruiting more experienced advisors as one of many big changes at the firm.
Advisors with $215M quit D.A. Davidson, Raymond James to join Kestra
Kestra Financial’s hybrid RIA subsidiary added two advisors from D.A. Davidson and Raymond James as the firm’s new assets from recruiting in the past 13 months reached $565 million.
Advisor Ed Klein left D.A. Davidson to launch an independent practice with Kestra Private Wealth Services, while Graham Pearce bolted Raymond James’ indie channel for an affiliated firm of Kestra PWS. The two advisors manage $215 million in combined client assets.
Raymond James has nabbed a $130 million team from Wells Fargo as the firm works to build a more robust advisor pool.
Financial advisors James Trimpe and Timothy Stolt, along with registered client service associate Lori Rupe, join the firm’s office in Louisville, Kentucky.
“There were a few things that really attracted me to Raymond James,” Trimpe said in a statement. “First, the firm remains focused on its primary business being its advisory business, whereas some firms operate as a subsidiary of a bank. Second, the firm gives advisors the ability to choose who they do business with and doesn’t put limitations on minimum account size.”
Steward Partners’ expansion accelerates with Merrill Lynch grab
Steward Partners recruited a former Merrill Lynch team managing $180 million in client assets to its newly opened Richmond, Virginia office. The office marked the firm’s 13th location in seven states and Washington D.C. — and was later followed by a 14th location in Houston, Texas.
Steward Partners’ expansion is gathering steam following a record year for recruiting, total client assets and revenue in 2017, the firm said. Last year Steward recruited 29 advisors with more than $25 million in revenue and $3.4 billion in managed assets from their previous firms. Comparatively, in 2016 the firm recruited 22 advisors with $19 million in revenue and $2.8 billion in managed assets.
Janney grabs $200M Raymond James team, pushes into Midwest
Janney Montgomery Scott has grabbed a five-person financial advisory team from Raymond James in an effort to kick-start its recruiting campaign and expand its footprint into the Midwest.
The Buikema, Oursler, Morse Financial Team, which previously managed $200 million in client assets, is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and brings more than 110 combined years of industry experience, according to Janney.
The regional broker-dealer is gearing up for another big recruiting year in 2018, following strong numbers in prior years. The firm added 65 advisors in 2017, marking its biggest recruiting push since 2009, according to a spokeswoman.
With $157M grab, Stifel’s recruiting efforts show no sign of abating
Stifel Financial is one of the beneficiaries of the wirehouse exodus. The firm has been on a recruiting tear as of late, pulling in talent from its rivals as planners are drawn to what they say are better technological offerings and a less restrictive work environment.
Some of the firm’s latest recruits come from Merrill Lynch and RBC.
“2018 is off to a fast [recruiting] start now that the uncertainty of the DoL [rule] is behind us,” John Pierce, Stifel’s head of advisor recruitment recently toldOn Wall Street. “Each of our 360-plus branch managers own recruiting in their local market. We don't delegate away this important role because boots on the ground know who is and is not a cultural fit. Some of our best recruiting is saying ‘no’ to people who just don't fit.”
Baird has recruited a veteran financial advisor managing $168 million in client assets from Edward Jones, an employee-owned broker-dealer.
Richard Bingaman brings more than 20 years of experience to his new firm. He will assume the roles of senior vice president and financial advisor at Baird’s new wealth management office in Elgin, Illinois, located about an hour from Chicago.
Pedestrians walk past a Wells Fargo & Co. bank branch in New York, U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016. Wells Fargo & Co.'s senior executives should be investigated by U.S. prosecutors over the bank's unauthorized creation of customer accounts, Democrats in the U.S. Senate told Attorney General Loretta Lynch. Photographer: John Taggart/Bloomberg
Steward Partners grabs $170M advisory team from Wells Fargo
Steward Partners recruited a former Wells Fargo team that managed $170 million in client assets to its burgeoning advisor ranks, the firm said.
The team, known as the Raffer Investment Group, is comprised of Alan Raffer and his son Jeremy, and CFP Sherry Birnbaum. They joined Steward Partners’ recently opened office in Paramus, New Jersey.
Merrill Lynch’s $150M advisor loss is Raymond James’ gain
Financial advisor Phil Closuit is making the switch from Merrill Lynch, where he managed $150 million in client assets, to Raymond James’ office in Boston, a company spokesperson said. Closuit will be joined by Jane Fitzwilliam, senior registered client service associate.
Advisors who have been leaving wirehouses repeatedly cite desires for less regulation, less bureaucracy and a more intimate office environment as key drivers behind their moves.
Advisor with $86M in AUM joins Ameriprise Financial
DNA Financial Advisors, a team led by David Adams, is moving to the employee channel of Ameriprise Financial from SagePoint Financial, Inc. Adams, whose new title is financial advisor and managing director, is joined by his teammates Stephen Kuhn, client service coordinator, and Judy Chalcraft, client service associate.
"I've always grown my business through referrals, but now I'm also excited to explore growing it through acquiring other practices with the help of Ameriprise," Adams said.
Advisor moves from Lincoln Financial Advisors to Triad-affiliated hybrid RIA
Triad Advisors helped recruit Chris Kohne to Sugarloaf Wealth Management, a Triad affiliate that serves the Atlanta area.
Kohne brings $100 million in AUM to the firm, which has embarked on a growth plan to recruit more advisors. The firm serves mass affluent and high-net-worth clients who are mostly in retirement or near retirement.
Halite grows its team
Halite Partners, an RIA founded by former wirehouse advisors, is on a growth spurt. The firm named Ric Butler CFO and COO, appointed two new directors and opened its second office in Palm Beach, Florida. Kevin Kale, previously with Manning & Napier Advisors, will be joining as director of business development. Nicci Harrell Hicks will be joining as the director of wealth services. She was previously with NetJets.
“Halite is committed to providing our clients with top-tier, investment management and wealth planning services,” Phil Shaffer, Halite’s founder and CEO said. “Kevin and Nicci are exceptional talents who bring diverse backgrounds to Halite. Their additions strengthen our team and deepen our expertise, and I look forward to their contributions.”
Butler joined Halite from J.P. Morgan Asset Management where he was a managing director, according to Halite. He will operate from the independent firm's headquarters in Columbus, Ohio.
"His background and expertise in the institutional market will greatly benefit our clients, and we look forward to his contributions to the growing Halite team," Shaffer said in a statement.
Janney scoops up talent from Wells Fargo in ongoing wirehouse exodus
Janney Montgomery Scott has also benefited as advisors leave wirehouses. Janney recently a financial advisor from Wells Fargo to its newly-opened Columbus, Ohio office.
Jeramy May brings 20-years of industry experience to Janney’s Columbus location, which was opened in January 2018. He joins senior vice president Scott Horowitz, who is also the wealth management and branch manager for the office. May previously managed $118 million in client assets at Wells Fargo.
Together, the two advisors have more than $215 million in client assets under management. May spent 10 years with Wells Fargo, according to FINRA BrokerCheck records. Before Wells, he was with Baird for eight years.
Raymond James announced the addition of two financial services recruiters, brought on to further support recruiting in the West. Brent Randol has joined to support recruiting in northern California and northern Nevada, while Rollin Ellis has joined to manage recruiting in the Pacific Northwest.
Merrill Lynch snags a former top FINRA exec: Susan Axelrod
After nearly 30 years regulating Wall Street firms, Susan Axelrod is about to join one of the biggest brokerages she helped oversee: Merrill Lynch.
Axelrod, formerly a top executive with FINRA, will join Merrill Lynch Wealth Management in May, stepping in as the unit's chief supervisory officer and reporting directly to Andy Sieg, who heads up the Bank of America wealth management unit.
Axelrod stepped down from her role at FINRA last October, departing as one of the regulator's most visible faces and leaving her fingerprints on a variety of initiatives, including the restructuring of the group's market surveillance and broker examination program.
Morgan Stanley execs join financial planning fintech
In a bid to speed its expansion into the enterprise market, a young software firm recruited a clutch of former Morgan Stanley executives, including Chris Salvaggio, the wirehouse’s former executive overseeing development of financial planning tools.
Advizr CEO Hussain Zaidi chalked up the string of hires to the New York-based firm’s growth in the market. Having raised $7 million in Series A funding last June from a number of industry firms, Advizr now serves more than 1,000 advisory firms with $25 billion in assets.
Stifel Financial recently hired 35-year industry veteran Robert Johnson from Merrill Lynch, where he was part of the wirehouse’s private banking and investment group.
Johnson will be based in Dallas and will lead the firm’s expansion efforts in Texas, along with ultrahigh-net-worth client initiatives across the nation. He’ll join the regional broker-dealer on April 2.
HD Vest Financial Services hired an eight-year LPL Financial veteran to lead the tax-focused planning firm’s marketing efforts for advisors.
The Irving, Texas-based firm appointed Chau Nguyen Haner its head of marketing, reporting to parent firm Blucora’s chief marketing officer, Mathieu Stevenson. She will help lead HD Vest’s recruiting initiatives while crafting communication and lead generation strategies for the firm’s 4,000 advisors.
“This in-depth collaboration with the advisors on HD Vest's network makes it possible to develop scalable marketing programs and solutions that are in complete alignment with each advisor's goals,” Haner said in a statement. “I look forward to working with the incredible team at HD Vest to deliver customized support for all of our advisors."
Ex-Baird exec joins indie firm U.S. Capital Advisors
A former Baird executive joined a fast-growing independent firm in a bid to help it grow even more.
Jarrett Kovics will serve as head of business development for U.S. Capital Advisors, which has added about 50 advisors overseeing approximately $6 billion in assets since its founding in 2010.
Kovics, who is based in Houston, previously served as western divisional director for Robert W. Baird’s private wealth management business from 2010 to 2017. He's known Pat Mendenhall, the founder of U.S. Capital Advisors, for several years and wanted to join the firm in part because it could offer more flexibility and freedom for advisors, he says.
As part of its aggressive advisor recruiting push, Stifel hired a former UBS executive to help boost growth in a newly created region.
James Van Steenhuyse was hired as managing director of Stifel's Southwest region and will be based in Phoenix. Van Steenhuyse previously served as a UBS executive director in Phoenix. He had been with the wirehouse for approximately 30 years.
In his new position, he'll oversee expansion efforts in Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada. Stifel has five offices in those states.
Fiduciary Trust Company grows estate planning team
Attorney Patricia Schatzlein Smock will join Fiduciary Trust Company as the vice president and trust counsel of the estate planning team. She will advise clients in the areas of tax, trust and estate planning.
Smock comes to Fiduciary Trust from Cambridge Associates. She previously operated her own estate planning practice.
Morgan Stanley loses top tech executive to indie firm
Morgan Stanley’s wealth management division lost a top tech executive to an indie firm and has moved quickly to fill the key position. The move is a meaningful one, especially because in recent years Morgan Stanley has heavily invested in improving its suite of digital tools, including a robo advice service.
Sal Cucchiara, who joined Morgan Stanley in 2016, has been named the head of wealth management and technology, according to an internal memo seen by On Wall Street.
“Sal is ideally suited to this role having a long history of leading large and complex technology organizations,” the memo reads. “Since joining the firm, Sal has led a number of our most critical initiatives, including enhancements to our desktop, mobile and investment systems.”
Bernstein Private Wealth Management appointed James Thompson as head of diverse markets strategy, the firm’s first-ever role dedicated to diversity, the company said. Thompson will lead efforts to develop relationships with multicultural high-net-worth clients.
"We believe strongly that this role presents us a significant opportunity to attract and better serve investors in this fast-growing segment of the market," said Joel Stevens, senior managing director at Bernstein.
Thompson previously oversaw business development, marketing strategy and program execution for AllianceBernstein's global insurance unit, the company said.
$180M Merrill Lynch team goes indie with Raymond James
Two Merrill Lynch advisors who managed approximately $180 million in client assets broke away from the wirehouse to launch an independent practice under Raymond James, according to the firm.
Taylor Adams, who had spent 13 years at Merrill, and Annie Norris, who was there for 31 years, opened Southern Wealth Group as wirehouses continue to lose advisors amid the flux surrounding the Broker Protocol. The Little Rock, Arkansas-based firm aligned in February with the third largest independent broker-dealer. They generated about $1.5 million in annual revenue, according to Raymond James