Stifel Financial has hired a new branch manager from Merrill Lynch with $600 million in client assets.

John M. Van Donge joins Stifel from Merrill's Global Wealth Management office in Century City, Ca., according to a statement from the firm. He will help open a second office for Stifel in Santa Barbara, and work with a team formed by former Merrill colleagues Michael Sullivan, Michael O' Keefe and John Bledsoe,  Also with Van Donge is a registered client service associate Marie Aardema.

Van Donge joined Merrill in 1997. A 24-year industry veteran, Van Donge had been instrumental in establishing the firm's fee-based financial planning and investment management programs, as well as developing strategies and partnerships to deepen client relationships between global banking and the private banking and investment group, according to Stifel.

"John's experience in addressing the complex needs of high net worth investorsÂ…made him a great fit for our culture," said Stifel President James Zemlyak, in the statement.

The latest hire for Stifel comes after the firm picked up another former Merrill team, which had been managing $2.5 billion in client assets before making the move.

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