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Stifel lures away another wirehouse executive

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Stifel Financial has been on a hot recruiting streak over the last several months, pulling in advisors and leaders from a number of its rivals.

The firm’s latest grab, 35-year industry veteran Robert Johnson, joins from Merrill Lynch where he was a part of the wirehouse’s private banking and investment group.

Johnson will be based in Dallas and will lead the firm’s expansion efforts in Texas, along with ultrahigh-net-worth client initiatives across the nation. He’ll join the regional broker-dealer on April 2.

“After doing extensive due diligence, it was clear to me that Stifel was the right choice for me to continue my career in a senior leadership role,” Johnson said in a statement. “The culture, people, client focus, and lack of bureaucracy make this a great place for clients as well as top financial advisors. I wanted to finish my career at a place that reminded me of where I started it.”

Merrill Lynch did not respond to requests for comment.

“Bob not only has a great understanding of our business, it is clear advisors and clients enjoy working with him,” Stifel co-president Jim Zemlyak said in the same statement. “The markets in Bob’s region present a tremendous opportunity for our firm to grow.”

Johnson spent the last 21 years at Merrill Lynch, according to FINRA BrokerCheck records. He began his career with Merrill in 1983, leaving for the first time in 1987. He has also worked for E.F. Hutton, Lehman Brothers and PaineWebber.

Recently, Stifel hired former UBS manager James Van Steenhuyse as managing director of Stifel's Southwest region. His recruitment is aimed to drive Stifel’s growth in the newly created region.

In addition to Merrill Lynch and UBS, Stifel has been pulling in talent from Oppenheimer, Ameriprise and Wells Fargo.

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