Advisors are abandoning wirehouses for greater independence, and Stifel Financial is one of the beneficiaries of the exodus. The firm has been on a recruiting tear as of late, pulling in talent from its rivals as planners are drawn to what they say are better technological offerings and a less restrictive work environment.
Stifel’s latest recruits come from Merrill Lynch and RBC.
“2018 is off to a fast [recruiting] start now that the uncertainty of the DoL [rule] is behind us,” John Pierce, Stifel’s head of advisor recruitment recently told On Wall Street. “Each of our 360-plus branch managers own recruiting in their local market. We don't delegate away this important role because boots on the ground know who is and is not a cultural fit. Some of our best recruiting is saying ‘no’ to people who just don't fit.”
Stifel has approximately 2,300 advisors, according to the company.
Planner Steve Thomsen is joining Stifel’s Washington D.C. office from Merrill Lynch, where he oversaw more than $83 million in client assets. He will assume the role of first vice president of investments.
Thomsen said he had been considering the move for a few years, and he interviewed with eight different companies before choosing Stifel.
“I just feel that Stifel has all the tools and resources of a [wirehouse] without all the conflicts of interest that might be inherent in some of those places,” Thomsen says. “There’s a high touch, highly customized private wealth experience with more of the independent flexibility that I didn’t have at my former firm.”
He also likes that Stifel owns a bank, rather than the other way around.
Thomsen previously spent 10 years with Merrill Lynch, according to FINRA BrokerCheck records. Merrill Lynch did not respond to a request for comment.
Daniel Newell, who previously managed $74 million in client assets at RBC, is joining Stifel in its Hunt Valley, Maryland, office. He brings close to 40 years of experience in the wealth management industry to his new role.
Newell will also serve as a first vice president of investments. Both advisors serve high-net-worth clients.
Newell was attracted to Stifel for its research product, the small cultural feel and other technological offerings, he says. He had been considering a move for about three years.
“At my previous firm, research was pretty good but it wasn’t nearly as good as Stifel’s,” Newell says. “Also I felt that Stifel was under-brokered in my area, the Baltimore area, and I thought that there were some great opportunities to expand the firm and the brand in this area.”
RBC did not respond to a request for comment.