Merrill Lynch lost three advisors managing about $159 million to broker-dealer Stifel Nicolaus.

Planners William McLaughlin and John Murphy, teammates at Merrill, managed a combined $118 million at the wirehouse. Stephen O’Flaherty oversaw $41 million in assets at Merrill Lynch.

(Bloomberg News)

The three advisors will join Stifel in its Poughkeepsie, New York office.

“A consistent theme we hear at our St. Louis home office visits with recruits is that they relish the chance to work with a firm that owns a bank and is not owned by a bank,” John Pierce, head of advisor recruitment for Stifel, said in a statement. “It makes a tremendous difference when recruits understand that they have total freedom to use the bank or not. It is simply a positive cultural advantage to own your own bank.”

Merrill Lynch has been losing talent in recent weeks. Janney grabbed one of the firm’s planners with over $170 million in assets at the end of November. Two others who managed $143 million in assets quit for Ameriprise in mid-November. And around the same time a team that oversaw nearly $900 million in client assets ditched the firm for UBS.

Additionally, the wealth management firm was recently hit with a $1.4 million fine by FINRA due to lapses in its supervisory system. The regulator claims that Merrill’s oversight in supervising, identifying and evaluating extended settlement transactions by its clients resulted in inaccurate computations of margin requirements and net capital deductions for tens of thousands of transactions.

Merrill Lynch did not respond to requests for comment.