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Advisors on the Move: 32 teams switch firms, $8.8B
Aggressive hiring initiatives at regional and independent firms are fueling brisk churn in the job market for financial advisors.

There has been more movement this year than last, says Michael Terrana, CEO of financial planning recruiting company Terrana Group. And through the rest of the year, he expects to see more advisors leave the four major wirehouses, he says.

As they continue to expand and open new branches across the country, regional broker-dealers like Raymond James, Stifel Financial, RBC Wealth Management, Kestra Financial and Janney Montgomery Scott have been successfully luring advisors from the wirehouses, including several multimillion-dollar teams they’ve recruited in the last few weeks.

Among the wirehouses, at least 17 teams have left Wells Fargo alone. Meanwhile, Morgan Stanley, which made the decision to leave the Broker Protocol last fall, has also lost several teams over the last month. The industry accord allows departing advisors to take basic client contact information with them, but now that Morgan Stanley is no longer a member, the firm has been filing lawsuits against its ex-advisors, alleging that they’ve stolen client information on their way to competing firms.

Whereas Morgan Stanley left the Broker Protocol, regional BD Hilliard Lyons decided to join the industry accord in March. Since then, the firm has expanded in North Carolina, Tennessee and Ohio, hiring new advisor teams and adjusting its growth strategy. Hilliard Lyons hopes to grow its headcount to 450 advisors and increase its revenues by 36% in the next three to five years, says Tom Kessinger, president of the firm.

“I think the RIA industry is just beginning its growth phase,” said Jim Denholm, president of IronBridge, an RIA in Texas. He adds: “I think they’re in a much better position to serve high-net-worth clients than the large firms are. And I think that’s going to be the case for the next 20 years.”