Kestra Private Wealth Services is ramping up its recruiting efforts, scooping up a $300 million team from Wells Fargo Advisors.

Bloomberg News

The team, known as Liberty Wealth Solutions in Paramus, New Jersey, is led by managing director Steve Battel, as well as senior vice presidents Rob Yevchak, Bruce Battel and Nancy Hurst.

Wirehouse advisors have been leaving, seeking out for what they say is the greater flexibility of being independent or moving to a regional firm that isn’t controlled by a major bank.

“We’ve worked for years to develop and deepen our client relationships, even serving up to three generations of families and believe moving toward independence will allow those relationships to grow,” Battel said in a statement.

The team at Liberty Wealth felt it was the right time to make a move as they wanted to evolve their practice, says Kestra PWS CEO Rob Bartenstein. They were attracted to the small ecosystem of the RIA.

“I think they felt, like all of our advisors do, that an independent platform offered them the best opportunity to do things that would be in the best interest of their clients,” Bartenstein said. “Because we are not trying to be 15,000 people, we’re afforded a greater level of flexibility and accommodation when it comes to tailoring our services and offerings to the specific needs of the firms that align themselves with us.”

Wells Fargo has been losing talent recently, seeing nine advisory teams head for the door in just a three week period. Wells Fargo has lost advisors to Steward Partners, Stifel, RBC and Janney in addition to Kestra. The wirehouse declined to comment on the Liberty Wealth move.

As for Kestra PWS, the firm has no plans to slow down its recruiting efforts. Currently the RIA has more than 20 advisory teams and is looking to grow that number to at least 50 over the next two years.

“We’re running at upwards of a 40% growth rate year-over-year and it’s just been a combination of people finding out about us, more about our model and how it narrows the gap between where they want to be and where they are,” Bartenstein says.