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Merrill team with nearly $500M jumps to Stifel

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A Merrill Lynch team that managed $497 million in client assets left the wirehouse to open a new branch office for Stifel, the firm said.

The move is the latest in a series of new hires at Stifel, which has stepped up recruiting efforts and added 17 branches so far this year.

The Metcalf, Cole & Masopust Group joined the regional BD in Southbury, Connecticut. It’s Stifel’s fifth office in the state.

The team is comprised of advisors Chris Metcalf, Jeff Cole, and Alison Masopust as well as registered client service associate Joan Buonocore and client service associate Sabrina Gross.

Allen Brautigam, Stifel’s director of branch offices, said in a statement that the team was an example of the firm’s expansion to new markets and they "look forward to continuing to broaden our footprint.”

Metcalf, Cole and Masopust had been with Merrill Lynch since 2009, according to FINRA BrokerCheck. They previously worked at UBS.

Metcalf is the most experienced of the three, having started his career at the wirehouse in 1990. Cole and Maspust began their advisory careers at UBS in 2001 and 2007, respectively.

A Merrill Lynch spokeswoman was unavailable for immediate comment regarding their departure.

The team is following the path of dozens of wirehouse brokers who’ve recently defected to start independent firms or join regional broker-dealers.

For example, RBC has hired two dozen Merrill advisors since Aug. 1, according to the firm’s hiring announcements. Those ex-wirehouse advisors managed a cumulative $2.9 billion.

Of course, Stifel’s hiring efforts target other wirehouse advisors as well. Recent additions include two Wells Fargo brokers in Macon, Georgia, who managed $270 million and a former New York-based Jefferies advisor who oversaw $179 million.

These ongoing efforts boosted Stifel’s headcount to 2,193 advisors for the third quarter from 2,149 for the year-ago period, according to the firm’s earnings report. Client assets grew to $311 billion from $289 billion, a 7.8% year-over-year increase.

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