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Steward Partners opens 18th office, hires $283M Morgan team

Steward Partners recruited a $283 million team from Morgan Stanley to open a new office in Dallas, according to the independent the firm affiliated with Raymond James.

The new additions build on a series of new hires, including three former Wells Fargo advisors who signed on with Steward in January. Collectively, those advisors, managed $338 million and joined a new Steward office in Portland, Maine.

Steward was founded six years ago by former wirehouse managers. The Washington-based firm has since expanded to 18 branches thanks to an influx of advisors, many who have come from wirehouses.

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The company’s latest recruits, advisors Brett Diamond and Jason Bottenfield, say there were attracted to the firm’s culture, partnership model, affiliation with Raymond James and the new financial planning tools they’d have access to. The pair spent their careers at Morgan Stanley, having started at Smith Barney before Morgan bought the firm.

“I’m really excited about the flexibility to do financial planning the way I read about it in the Journal of Financial Planning and the way the CFP Board wants us to do it,” Bottenfield says, adding he’ll be able to go deeper into core strategies and planning than he previously could.

“I felt the flexibility was a little bit constrained prior [while at Morgan],” he says.

The duo is also reuniting with their former branch manager, Chris Barton, who currently serves as divisional president at Steward. He joined the independent firm from Morgan in 2017, according to FINRA BrokerCheck records.

“We’ve always trusted, respected and looked up to Chris,” says Diamond, adding that they worked under his supervision for 13 years.

Diamond, 42, and Bottenfield, 41, have worked together almost their entire careers. This is their first career move as advisors.

“At Smith Barney, I really enjoyed the culture. It was putting the client first,” Diamond says, adding that Steward resembled the best of what he missed about Smith Barney.

“It’s a place where the staff respects the advisor and the advisor respects the staff. And you are a true partner, not an employee,” he says.

Also moving with the team is Donna Petrucello.

A spokeswoman for Morgan Stanley declined to comment.

The firm’s new additions in Texas also come a year since it opened a new office in Houston. Advisor Randy Price and his son Matthew, who managed about $600 million in client assets, joined Steward there in March 2018.

The firm “has made two significant investments in the two hottest markets in Texas,” Barton says.

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