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Stifel opens 2 more branches, signaling further expansion

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Stifel’s recruiting streak has spurred the firm to find new space for its hires, opening two branches this month in Jamestown, New York, and Birmingham, Michigan.

That brings the firm’s total branch openings this year to five, putting it on track to match last year’s 17 new locations.

Regional BDs in recent years have successfully picked up wirehouse advisors who were seeking different corporate cultures, enabling firms such as Stifel and Raymond James to enhance their national presence. Recruiter Mark Elzweig says hiring initiatives can gain more traction when local advisors see a regional brokerage set up shop near them, but that firms rarely open empty branches.

“Firms will typically open a new branch once they have a critical mass of new hires, which is typically $3 million in terms of gross production,” Elzweig says.

To staff these locations, Stifel has been plucking talent from rival firms, primarily wirehouses. In Jamestown, Stifle hired former UBS advisor Michael Pascarella. He previously oversaw $92 million in client assets, according to Stifel. Pascarella had been with UBS since 2009, and previously worked at Merrill Lynch.

Jamestown is one of four offices Stifel has opened in upstate New York since 2014.

“When you open in a place like Jamestown, you can position yourself well as one of the few firms in that location,” Elzweig says.

In Birmingham, the regional broker-dealer hired Jon Uffelman from Oppenheimer & Co. He previously managed $281 million in client assets, according to his new employer. Uffelman, an advisor of 34 years, had been registered with Oppenheimer since 2008, according to FINRA BrokerCheck records.

Uffelman now operates from Stifel’s 15th office in Michigan. In the past two years, the firm has picked up more than two dozen advisors managing $3.3 billion in client assets.

Representatives for UBS and Oppenheimer declined to comment on the departures.

To be sure, Stifel is not the only regional BD benefiting from a strong recruiting environment. Raymond James, Janney Montgomery Scott and others have become home to a number of former wirehouse advisors. But Stifel’s hiring streak has netted the firm more than three dozen advisors so far this year. Those new recruits managed over $4.5 billion.

To fuel its expansion, Stifel has opened its coffers. The firm, which has more than 2,300 advisors, reported paying $120.3 million last year in the form of upfront notes to new recruits as transition pay, up from $61.8 million for 2017, according to the company’s annual reports.

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