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$400M Merrill Lynch duo goes indie with Raymond James

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Raymond James grabbed a Merrill Lynch duo with $400 million in client assets in at least the third wirehouse breakaway to the firm’s independent channel so far this year.

David Anderson and George Hall of 1808 Capital Partners joined the broker-dealer’s independent arm in Greensboro, North Carolina, Raymond James announced Wednesday. The pair went indie with the practice founded by Anderson’s father, who recently retired after working at Merrill Lynch for 50 years.

Merrill’s parent, Bank of America, disclosed earlier this week that it lost 145 brokers from its wealth management unit in the first quarter of the year. Rival Morgan Stanley added only 14 advisors in the same span, while Wells Fargo lost nearly 400. The advisor headcount at UBS fell by 65 in the fourth quarter of 2016.

Raymond James’ independent channel has reaped the benefits of the shrinking headcounts. Two Morgan Stanley advisors and four brokers from the Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network moved to Raymond James in the first quarter. Another Wells Fargo team joined the firm’s hybrid independent employee program.

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Anderson and Hall opted for Raymond James because of the “client-centered culture, the client experience they offer and the depth of resources available to advisors like us,” Hall said in a statement.

“Building on a legacy business, we have added a younger generation of clients, some children of long-term clients, and having the right expertise and support to continue serving our existing clients and their families — as well as the next generation — was paramount.”

A spokeswoman for Bank of America declined to comment on the team’s departure.

Anderson and Hall started at Raymond James on March 9, according to FINRA BrokerCheck. They report to Southeast Regional Director Jodi Perry. Celeste Allen also came aboard at Raymond James from Merrill, as the team’s client relationship manager.

Hall began his career at Merrill in 2006, while Anderson joined the wirehouse in 2001. Their clients include business owners, families and healthcare professionals, as well as endowments and foundations.

The headcount at Raymond James Financial Services, the company’s independent arm, grew by 227 brokers last year to 4,143, according to the firm’s latest earnings report. LPL Financial added 323 advisors in 2016 to reach 14,377, while Ameriprise’s franchise arm contracted by 38 advisors to 7,668.

All three firms will disclose their first-quarter earnings next week. The tepid wirehouse recruiting figures did not put a dent in the firms’ first quarter profits. Merrill Lynch’s profits increased by 4%, Wells Fargo’s surged by 22% and Morgan Stanley’s jumped by 24%. UBS will report its earnings next Friday.

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