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Steward Partners nabs more talent from Wells Fargo

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Steward Partners’ aggressive recruiting push is paying off as the Raymond James-affiliated firm welcomes its twelfth advisory team this year.

Advisors Faith Harrington and Constantine Harris join the firm’s Portsmouth, New Hampshire office from Wells Fargo, where they managed more than $215 million in client assets. This is the sixth time Steward has pulled talent from Wells Fargo since February.

Wells Fargo declined to comment on the latest move.

Planners have been leaving wirehouses in droves, citing uncertainty around the Broker Protocol and disagreement with the way they are managed by big banks as key reasons for exiting these companies. The trend is compounded at Wells Fargo, which has been plagued by recent scandals.

“Working for a large bank brings with it some conflicts of interest,” Harrington says. “There are some pressures there to perhaps get involved in lending or other kinds of [things].”

Harrington and Harris spent the better part of a year looking for their next firm to join. They knew they didn’t want to go to a big bank and didn’t think a fully independent model was for them. Eventually they decided on Steward Partners, which is an employee-owned, full-service independent partnership.

“We did look very carefully at our options,” Harris says. “What stood out right away from Steward — and we did have to look at this a little closer — was their model. One of the unique things is the ownership structure here. What’s great is everybody has a stake in the success of our clients, each other and the firm and it seems like nobody is ever leaving anybody hanging.”

Harrington and Harris have been working as a team for the last two and a half years.

Harrington has more than 20 years of industry experience, while Harris has almost 40 years of experience in wealth management, according to FINRA BrokerCheck records.

In addition to Wells Fargo, Steward Partners has recently lured advisors from UBS, Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley.

By the end of June, Steward Partners will have eclipsed its new partner additions for all of 2017, according to Greg Banasz, managing director and head of business development.

“This model resonates and the really important part for me is just because somebody is interested doesn’t mean we have to take them on board,” says Jim Connors, Steward’s divisional president. “It’s not about the numbers, it’s about the quality of the advisor. We’re building something really unique here. There’s a lot of interest — obviously from the wirehouses — in having an independent platform and ownership in Steward. It’s something completely different than folks have seen before.”

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