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Stifel nabs $1B Merrill Lynch team for new branch

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Stifel is going big in the Lone Star state.

The firm opened a new Fort Worth, Texas branch staffed by two former Merrill Lynch advisors who oversaw approximately $1 billion in combined client assets, a spokesman said. Stifel now has 12 wealth management offices in Texas, including four in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area.

Advisors Toby Ardoyno and Toni Rose previously were responsible for $885 million and $167 million, respectively, according to their new employer.

Ardoyno started his career at Merrill Lynch in 1999, according to FINRA BrokerCheck records. Rose joined the wirehouse from Cetera in 2014.

The following 17 teams oversaw about $75 billion in assets. The firms ending the year with prize recruits include a diverse cast: regional BDs, wirehouses, boutiques and RIAs.
December 14

“Obviously, Toby and Toni are attractive candidates for any firm, and they had many opportunities,” Bob Johnson, managing director for Stifel’s Southwest Region, said in a statement. “Their mandate of a client-centric culture and a work environment that would embrace their tenure and professionalism made them a perfect fit for Stifel. Toby will be leading our growth efforts in the Fort Worth market, and given his outstanding reputation, I cannot think of a better person to represent our brand going forward.”

A third advisor, Blake Furgerson, also moved with the team, a Stifel spokesman confirmed. He has five years of industry experience, according to BrokerCheck.

Stifel has been aggressively recruiting advisors, particularly from wirehouses, in a bid to grow its brokerage ranks. Earlier this month, the St. Louis-based firm said it hired three wirehouse advisors managing $325 million from Merrill Lynch and Wells Fargo.

A spokeswoman for Merrill Lynch could not be reached for comment.

The wirehouse has been experiencing low advisor attrition, according to the company’s fourth-quarter earnings report. Still, some top brokers have left Merrill Lynch and other wirehouses to join regional brokerages or start their own independent firms because of what they say is the greater flexibility offered by those business models.

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