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Regional BDs gain as wirehouses lose: $500M in brokers bolt to competition

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Three wirehouse departures. Three new regional BD hires.

Ameriprise, Raymond James and Stifel unveiled their latest wirehouse recruits this week, bolstering the migration of talent from the industry’s biggest firms to the regional BD channel.

Regional brokerages have experienced the highest growth among broker-dealer networks in the past five years, with a compound annual growth rate of 6.5%, according to research firm Cerulli Associates. They’ve pulled off this feat largely by recruiting advisors from the wirehouses which have generally retreated from hiring efforts since 2016.

“For wirehouse advisors interested in a change due to dissatisfaction with their current firm’s culture, or senior management, migration to the national and regional BD channel can be the most natural fit,” Cerulli said in a recent report.

The regional BDs’ newest additions came at the expense of Wells Fargo, UBS and Merrill Lynch.

In the larger of the three moves, Ameriprise hired Larson Payne Larson Group, which oversaw approximately $222 million in assets while at Wells Fargo.

The Edina, Minnesota-based team is comprised of advisors Tony Larson, Russell Payne and Rob Larson, as well as registered client service associates Michelle Farrell and Kevin Gathke.

“Among all the options, we chose Ameriprise because it was the firm with the right resources to support the financial planning relationships we have with our clients,” Larson said in a statement.

He had been with Wells Fargo for 14 years, according to FINRA BrokerCheck records. Payne had been with the wirehouse for 11 years while Rob Larson, Tony’s brother, started his career at Wells Fargo in 2013.

Departing UBS for Raymond James is Richard Austin. He previously managed $193 million in client assets. The Montgomery, Alabama-based advisor said he’d heard positive things about Raymond James’ corporate culture from friends in the business.

“After making my visit to the home office in St. Petersburg, Florida, it became incredibly clear how right they were,” Austin said in a statement, referring to a common practice of prospective recruits visiting Raymond James’ headquarters.

An advisor of 33 years, Austin had worked at UBS for a decade. He has past experience at Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch, among other firms. Moving with him is client service associate Corrie Simpler.

Stifel hired former Merrill Lynch advisor Steve Lipp, who was responsible for $130 million in client assets. He joined Stifel in Dallas but will move to a new branch due to open soon in nearby Frisco, according to the firm.

Lipp joined Merrill from Ameriprise in 2011, according to BrokerCheck.

Spokespersons for UBS and Merrill Lynch were unavailable for immediate comment. A Wells Fargo spokeswoman declined to comment.

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