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Merrill Lynch loses $216M advisor to Raymond James

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Another one bites the dust.

Financial planner Nicole Sennett of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, is the latest in a long line of planners ditching the wirehouses, particularly Merrill Lynch, for what they say is the greater freedom of RIAs, regional broker-dealers or to go independent.

Sennett, who oversaw $216 million in client assets and had $1.2 million in production while with Merrill Lynch, left her previous firm for Raymond James. She and client service associate Cindy Rinehimer operate as Sennett and Associates Wealth Group, an independent practice with securities offered through Raymond James Financial Services.

“In evaluating firms, I was most attracted to the culture at Raymond James,” Sennett said in a statement. “The firm has remained focused on the core business upon which it was founded — its wealth management business — while offering ancillary services that further support that business and clients’ financial well-being. I’m looking forward to leveraging the resources at Raymond James as I grow my independent practice.”

The advisor was not available to comment directly.

Sennett spent the last 13 years with Merrill Lynch, according to FINRA BrokerCheck records. She started her career with the firm in 2005. Merrill Lynch declined to comment on the move.

The wirehouse has recently been experiencing an exodus. Advisors that have split from the company and spoken with On Wall Street have cited what they say is the restrictiveness of the firm, which is owned by a Bank of America, as a key reason to leave.

Since the start of the year, about two dozen advisors managing approximately $4.7 billion in client assets have quit Merrill Lynch, according to hiring announcements from independent and regional firms.

Raymond James has been reaping the rewards of this trend, not only grabbing talent from Merrill Lynch but also from Wells Fargo, UBS and Morgan Stanley.

"Recruiting continues to be robust and in line with the general trend for us over the past several years, which has remained strong," Tash Elwyn, president of Raymond James and Associates private client group, recently told On Wall Street. "We continue to benefit from ongoing interest from experienced financial advisors, many of whom find the firm’s client-first culture, technology and overall support to be the best fit for them and their clients."

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