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$370M team bolts Wells Fargo for Steward Partners

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A team managing $370 million quit Wells Fargo to join independent firm Steward Partners, making them the latest group in a stream of advisors who are leaving the wirehouse for smaller rivals.

The Sedoric Group joined Steward Partners, which is affiliated with Raymond James, in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The team includes financial advisors Tom Sedoric and Casey Snyder, wealth management associate Erika Luczynski, and senior registered client administrative manager Brittany Long.

Sedoric, who has been ranked as a top advisor by both Barron's and Forbes magazines, says they made the switch partly for Steward's culture and partnership structure.

"This structure that [CEO] Jim Gold and others have created is really impressive. And at my age, I'm not easily impressed," says Sedoric, an advisor of 34 years.

Sedoric says his move was also motivated by fond memories of A.G. Edwards, where he spent the bulk of his career, staying with the company following its acquisition by Wells Fargo in 2008.

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

"What's happened in the last couple of years is a kind of reverse mentoring thanks to the young members on my team. They've made me better and the practice better. And honestly, one reason for making the move [to Steward] was to give them the pride and ownership I felt at A.G. Edwards," Sedoric says.

The hiring of Sedoric is also something of a reunion, as he previously worked at Wells Fargo with Jim Connors, Steward Partners divisional president for New England. Connors left the wirehouse in 2016.

"The addition of [Tom and Casey] sends a good message to other advisors in New England who we are looking to attract," Connors says.

For Steward Partners, the team's addition builds on a string of recent hires, primarily from wirehouses. The firm added its 14th office in March with the hiring of a Houston-based team from RBC that managed $600 million in client assets. That move followed Steward Partners recruiting a $180 million team from Merrill Lynch, which staffed a newly opened branch in Richmond, Virginia.

Steward Partners’ CEO Jim Gold says the Washington, D.C.-based firm is finding prospective new hires through referrals from its existing advisors. "When you have a great experience, human nature is you want to share that experience," he says.

Wells Fargo, meanwhile, has suffered from advisor attrition over the past year-and-a-half. Brokers have bolted for regional brokerage and independent firms while Wells Fargo has dealt with fallout from scandals on its consumer banking side and heightened regulatory scrutiny. The wirehouse's headcount, at 14,399 advisors in the first quarter, was down 258 year-over-year.

Sedoric's departure is the second of a top ranked Barron's advisor in the past week. Advisor Jack Hafner, who was listed in Barron's last year as managing $1.2 billion in client assets, quit to join J.P. Morgan Securities in Philadelphia.

A spokeswoman for Wells Fargo declined to comment.

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