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Merrill Lynch’s $150M advisor loss is Raymond James’ gain

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The wirehouse exodus is accelerating as Merrill Lynch loses more talent to Raymond James.

Financial advisor Phil Closuit is making the switch from Merrill Lynch, where he managed $150 million in client assets, to Raymond James’ office in Boston, a company spokesperson said. Closuit will be joined by Jane Fitzwilliam, senior registered client service associate.

Advisors have recently been leaving wirehouses in droves, opting instead to work for regional broker-dealers and RIAs, or to go independent. They repeatedly cite desires for less regulation, less bureaucracy and a more intimate office environment as key drivers behind their moves.

“What attracted me most to Raymond James is the firm’s culture,” Closuit said in a statement. “Their commitment to supporting their advisors’ relationships with clients and to honoring book ownership differentiates them in this business. With the resources and support offered here, the firm makes it easy to get things done. The ease of doing business has helped me streamline how I run my business and has allowed me more time to spend with my clients.”

Closuit has 20 years of industry experience, according to FINRA BrokerCheck records. He spent eight years with Merrill Lynch, but started his career in 1998 at UBS, where he spent more than a decade.

The advisor was not available to comment directly and Merrill Lynch had no comment on his move.

“Raymond James’ strong presence in the Northeast continues to grow with the addition of experienced advisors like Phil,” Tom Galvin, North Atlantic regional director for Raymond James, said in a statement.

It’s not just Merrill Lynch that Raymond James has been poaching advisors from. Over the last several months the firm has also nabbed planners from Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley, SunTrust and Ameriprise.

"Recruiting continues to be robust and in line with the general trend for us over the past several years, which has remained strong," says Tash Elwyn, president of RJA private client group. "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."

Meanwhile, in a similar timeframe, Merrill Lynch has watched advisors head for the exits. In addition to Raymond James, the wirehouse has lost planners to Janney, Stifel, Steward Partners and LPL.

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