A Morgan Stanley team that oversaw about $175 million is leaving the wirehouse to join Steward Partners, making them the latest advisors to sign on with the fast-growing independent firm.

So far this year, Steward Partners — which is affiliated with Raymond James Financial Services — has hired more than two dozen advisors managing over $2.5 billion. Last week, the firm picked up another Morgan Stanley team which oversaw about $200 million in client assets.

Steward Partners' latest hires, Barry Salzman, Joshua Mauer and Michael Robert Hoff, will open the firm's 11th branch office in Baltimore. Salzman cites the firm's partnership model as a primary reason they made the move.

"We're partners now, not employees. We're going to have a voice in the direction of the firm and how it grows," he says.

The Baltimore group is comprised of veteran advisors: Salzman, 73, began his career in 1968 while Mauer, 58, and Hoff, 40, got their starts in 1999 and 1998, respectively.

They had been with Morgan Stanley since 2008, and previously worked at UBS, according to FINRA BrokerCheck records.

The move is indicative of a larger trend playing out this year, as more wealth managers make the switch from the wirehouses to independent firms. Three of the four major wirehouses — UBS, Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch — have announced recruiting cutbacks, whereas independent firms and regional brokerages have ramped up hiring, luring top talent with promises of less bureaucracy. RBC Wealth Management and Janney Montgomery Scott have both said they've picked up more advisors this year than they did in 2016.

(Bloomberg News)
(Bloomberg News)

A Morgan Stanley spokeswoman was unavailable for immediate comment.

Steward Partners’ new Balitmore team specializes in serving high-net-worth clients and working on portfolios on a discretionary basis.

Before making the move, they considered several options, such as Ameriprise and Wells Fargo's independent broker-dealer, but settled on Steward Partners for its model and affiliation with Raymond James, which provides platform, custody and other services to the independent firm.

A visit to Raymond James' headquarters in St. Petersburg, Fla., which lasted several days, helped seal the deal.

"This is really a people business, so it was important to see the quality of their people down there," Salzman says.

The group is transitioning client accounts, but they are looking forward to growing their client base under a new framework, they say.

"We moved over to Steward because it's a simple, elegant equation," Mauer says. "There are no shareholders or other considerations. Just us and the clients."

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