Raymond James enticed away a team that managed $200 million in client assets from Wells Fargo, the regional firm said. The move was prompted by changes in the corporate culture at their previous employer, one of the team members said.

Advisers Benjamin Price, W. Cal Batchelor and Anson Kanoy joined the employee channel of Raymond James in September, though the firm announced the move this week. They are now operating under the name Price, Batchelor and Kanoy Wealth Management as part of the Savannah, Georgia, branch, which is led by Tom Hussey, according to a spokeswoman. The branch reports to Dick Ferguson, Southern division director.

For Price, who worked at Wells Fargo and its predecessor firm A.G. Edwards for 23 years, the decision to leave was not an easy one, he says. Price is approaching 60 and had only switched firms once before, in 1993, when he moved from the investment banker Robinson-Humphrey Company to A.G. Edwards.

Benjamin Price and his team joined Raymond James’ employee channel in Savannah, Georgia. (From left to right: Cal Batchelor, Price, Nancy Dart and Anson Kanoy).

But when the wirehouse took away access to S&P's equity research in April and started pushing advisers to sell more bank products in the summer, in part by linking them to compensation and bonuses, Price and his partners began to question whether the firm was still a good fit for their clients.

“It put the onus on us to be more aggressive to sell certain products. We were not comfortable with that,” Price says.

As a result, the team began looking for another home for their practice.

Price says that the team was drawn to Raymond James in part for its culture of respecting the client-advisory relationship as well as the firm’s technology and equity research capabilities.

“On the day we resigned we had some 20 [Wells Fargo] advisers calling our clients. If I were to leave Raymond James someday, the policy is they will give us 60 days to reach out to our clients and encourage them to follow," he says.

Slideshow
Advisers on the move: J.P. Morgan loses $1.2B team
Also, Merrill gained teams with $1.5 billion in combined AUM, while UBS said farewell to a $426 million team.

Similar to Price, Batchelor also got his start in the advisory business at A.G. Edwards in 1994, a spokeswoman said. He joined Price’s team in 2012.

Kanoy joined Wells Fargo in 2008, and teamed up with Price in 2011. Prior to financial services, Kanoy spent eight years in sales and financing at Yancey Brothers, a Caterpillar dealership, according to Raymond James.

The team also includes client service associate Nancy Dart.

Two months since making the move, Price says the best part is feeling a sense of freedom. Some of his former A.G. Edwards colleagues work at the same branch.

“It was like coming home," Price says.

The St. Petersburg, Florida-based Raymond James employs about 7,100 advisers and oversees approximately $604 billion in client assets, according to the firm.

A Wells Fargo spokeswoman confirmed the team’s departure but declined to comment further.

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