Two Morgan Stanley advisors managing $250 million in assets have left the wirehouse to join Steward Partners, an independent firm affiliated with Raymond James Financial Services, according to a joint announcement by Steward and Raymond James.

Advisors Stephen Philleo and Daniel Ialeggio generated nearly $1.7 million in revenue while at the wirehouse.

They joined Steward as managing directors and will open a new office in Bethesda, Md. Also moving with the team is Conor Wolchesky, client administrative manager.

The two advisors started thinking about making a move in the wake of the financial crisis.

"It opened our eyes to think about where our clients best fit," says Ialeggio.

Philleo says that they briefly considered moving to another wirehouse, but dismissed the notion. "We came to the conclusion that it was pretty much the same, even though there were some differences."

He adds, "We just thought that the independent wealth management model, where your partners in a firm that doesn't have the same potential conflicts of interest, was a better model for ourselves and our clients."

The two partners say they considered other independent models, but decided that Steward Partners was a better fit for them and their clients in part because of its affiliation with Raymond James and because they were familiar with the firm's senior management. CEO Michael Maurer previously served as a Washington complex manager for Morgan Stanley while President James Gold oversaw the wirehouse's southern Connecticut complex.

Philleo had been with Morgan since 1993, according to FINRA records. Ialeggio started working at the wirehouse in 2000.

"I think it was time [to leave], but having been at any one place that long, it is a little bit difficult," Philleo says. "But once I got my head wrapped around what we were doing and why, it was exciting."

This is Steward Partners' fifth office since its founding in late 2013. Greg Banasz, Steward’s Director of Business Development, says that firm aims to expand its footprint around Washington and the Northeast.

"We took a lot of time and care deciding which market we wanted to be in, which area we want to open an office," he says.

Steward Partners has offices in Portsmouth, N.H., Andover, Mass., New York and Washington. Banasz says that the latest addition was carefully planned.

"This wasn't a quick interview and make-a-move. This was a lengthy and well-crafted process. Something we are very proud of," he says.

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