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Stifel lands new Ohio managing director to spur expansion

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To spur its expansion efforts in a competitive and changing recruiting environment, Stifel hired an executive with past experience at Credit Suisse and Merrill Lynch.

Jim Chahine will serve as a managing director in Youngstown, Ohio, overseeing growth in that state, Stifel said.

His addition comes as Stifel has ramped up its efforts to recruit more advisors — efforts complicated by the departure in recent months of UBS, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup from the Broker Protocol, an industrywide accord that permits advisors switching firms to take basic client contact information with them.

Stifel CEO Ron Kruszewski recently told analysts that the protocol departures hadhad a chilling effect on recruiting.

"In the initial coming out of the gate, certainly, there was a chilling on the recruiting aspects in the firms that have elected to remove themselves from protocol. But that sort of hits bottom and then it improves, because people are not indentured, they are going to work, they want to work, and the industry will adjust," Kruszewski said.

He added: "It has put a damper on recruiting, but the trend lines will improve from here"

One of the biggest notable losses came from Merrill Lynch, which lost a team managing $1 billion to the independent space.
April 11

In the most recent quarter, the firm's headcount slipped to 2,266 from 2,299 a year earlier, which Kruszewski attributed to recent retirements by advisors. Stifel had 2,244 advisors at the end of 2017.

The firm has brought on some notable new hires this year in order to expand Stifel's reach. For instance, a father-son team that previously managed $200 million in client assets left Wells Fargo team to open a new office for Stifel in Modesto, California last month. And a Janney Montgomery Scott broker overseeing $298 million joined Stifel's new branch in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Managers like Chahine will be responsible for furthering that kind of growth.

"Coming from a wirehouse environment, I am certain that the things that sold me on Stifel ― the culture, the world-class platform, the lack of bureaucracy ― will hold the same appeal among advisors who are looking to reinvigorate their careers," Chahine said in a statement.

Chahine spent 23 years at Merrill Lynch, leaving the wirehouse for Credit Suisse in 2015, according to FINRA BrokerCheck records. Credit Suisse closed its U.S. wealth management operations in 2016, entering into an exclusive recruiting arrangement with Wells Fargo, permitting the wirehouse to poach its advisors. The Swiss firm has since been embroiled in an ongoing dispute with former employees over deferred compensation.

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