Lebenthal Wealth Advisors has recruited a former Morgan Stanley Smith Barney manager and two independent advisors.

The latest recruits join Lebenthal's independent channel, and include ex-Morgan manager Clay Skurdal and independent advisors Brent Lee and Brion Norby.  Lee and Norby, who founded TruWealth Financial in 2013, were previously affiliated with Voya Financial Partners, formerly ING Financial Partners.

A Lebenthal spokesman declined to say how many assets Lee and Norby managed. The recruits will open a new office for the firm in Williston, N.D.

The move is the latest by the New York-based Lebenthal in its bid to build out its one-year old wealth management business.  The division is headed by chairman and CEO Frank Campanale, an industry veteran who previously held executive roles at E.F. Hutton and Smith Barney Consulting Group.

Lebenthal has had two notable recruiting successes this year. In March, the firm lured away a $1.2 billion team from Morgan Stanley. Then in August, Lebenthal grabbed a BNY Mellon team with $600 million in AUM. In a recent interview with On Wall Street, Campanale said that the firm's iconic name is a huge asset when recruiting advisors.

"If you don't have that brand out there, you're pushing on a string. If they don't let you in the place because they don't recognize you, then it's a harder road," he said. "Brand is a big deal. It takes time and it's important to advisors."

Campanale said in a statement that the new office was an opportunity to target new wealth generated by the oil boom in North Dakota. The state's economy grew by 9.7% in 2013, according to data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. North Dakota's unemployment also was 2.8% in September, slightly less than half the national average reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

"There is tremendous opportunity for a well-positioned wealth advisory firm to succeed in this environment by providing excellent client service, well-founded independent investment advice and strong performance,” said Campanale, adding that the local knowledge of the team would be an asset in developing Lebenthal's business in the region.

Lee said that he and Norby were focused on serving the region's newly wealthy clients.

"Many of our clients and potential clients are making more money than they ever dreamed they would make, and they have to implement decisions that will affect not only their lives but also the lives of their kids and grandkids. Our purpose is to work with families, clarify and simplify their financial lives and provide the best possible advice and management," said Lee.

Skurdal joined the industry in 1983, later working at firms E.F. Hutton and Smith Barney. He last served as a complex manager at Morgan Stanley in Eugene, Ore., leaving the firm in 2012, according to his LinkedIn profile.

A Morgan Stanley spokesperson confirmed that Skurdal left in 2012, but declined to comment further.

According to FINRA records, he moved in August 2013 to Concert Wealth Management, a San Jose, Calif.-based RIA.  Concert has more than 90 advisors and partner firms and over $2 billion in AUM, according to its website. 

A spokesman confirmed Skurdal’s departure from Concert where he worked as a financial advisor.

Lee and Norby are relative newcomers to the business. Lee started his financial services career in 2007 while Norby earned his series 7 in May 2013.


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