The growth of RIAs is exploding and the past month has been proof of it.
Four mega wirehouse teams struck out on their own. Among the biggest recent breakaways, a Morgan Stanley advisor who managed nearly $4 billion in clients assets started his own RIA to escape “conflict of interests” he believed were associated with the larger firm.
But the breakaway movement hasn't been the only beneficiary of migrating wirehouse talent. Advisors are also continuing to move to regional firms as well for what they see as greater independence and flexibility. RBC, for example, recruited six teams which managed more $1.4 billion in assets under management, according to company announcements.
Scroll through to see these and other recent hires.
A $4B advisor goes indie after 37 years at wirehouses
A desire for greater flexibility and fewer conflicts of interests spurred advisor Phil Shaffer to leave Morgan Stanley and form his own RIA, Halite Partners.
"We wanted to launch a firm where we could offer investment excellence without conflicts of interest. In our opinion, it wasn't possible to do that in a wirehouse setting," says Shaffer, whose former team previously oversaw approximately $4 billion in assets.
He is the latest big advisor to move to the independent channel. Several mega teams which made the switch this year have cited concerns about perceived conflicts of interest and a desire for greater control over how their practices are structured.
$600M Merrill team leaves for Dynasty-affiliated RIA
A Merrill Lynch team that oversaw $600 million in client assets left the wirehouse to join an RIA affiliated with Dynasty Financial Partners, the firm said.
The four-member group combined forces with Syntal Capital Partners, expanding the Midland, Texas-based firm's total staff to 12. The new hires, led by advisor Ben Gordon, are based in Dallas.
Gordon was part of Merrill Lynch's elite Private Banking & Investment Group, which serves ultrawealthy clients. He had been with the wirehouse since joining the industry in 1994, according to FINRA BrokerCheck records. Gordon said in a statement that they made the move in part because of the culture and growth opportunities in the independent space.
Summit Trail Advisors nabbed a team managing more than $300 million in ultrahigh-net-worth assets, according to the firm.
Justin Waterman and Sarah Silverio joined Summit Trail, an RIA affiliated with Dynasty Financial, at their New York City offices. Summit Trail also has locations in Chicago, Boston and San Francisco, and is looking to expand their national footprint to at least six cities in the next five years, according to managing partner Jack Petersen.
Both Waterman and Silverio, who left the wealth management boutique Fischer and Company, will target high-earning entrepreneurs and business owners, but have a combined book of fewer than 20 clients, Petersen says. Average assets per client for the advisors are around $30 million, he says.
“The team is technically very strong and has a very large average client size,” Petersen says. “They do really customized work.”
HighTower loses $200M advisor to one of its former RIAs
An advisor who saw approximately $200 million at HighTower left the firm to join Verdence Capital Advisors, an RIA that broke away from HighTower last month, a spokesman says.
Although HighTower has suffered from a few recent departures ― including another team that managed about $1 billion and also left last month ― the firm has pulled in several large breakaway teams and RIA acquisitions. The Chicago-based firm started the year by recruiting a $1 billion Wells Fargo team.
HighTower has also acquired several independent firms so far this year, including WealthTrust a $6.4 billion RIA aggregator.
Verdence's new recruit, advisor Charles Holt, will be in charge of the firm’s second office in Vienna, Virginia.
RBC Wealth Management poached three new advisory teams in moves representing nearly $1 billion in new assets under management, says the firm.
The biggest of the teams, measured by AUM, is the Boston-based Insight Private Wealth. Managing director Paul Roche III, managing director Christopher Bayles, senior business associate Jennifer Reardon and associate Yuri Dagan manage more than $500 million in AUM, according to RBC.
“The financial strength and stability, combined with premier capital markets and investment banking capabilities, were key factors in our decision,” Roche says in a statement.
RBC recruits $350M advisors from Wells Fargo, Janney
Recruiting momentum is picking up at RBC.
The regional broker-dealer hired three advisors who managed $350 million in client assets this week, a spokeswoman says. That builds on a growing number of hires at RBC, which has snapped up more new recruits in the first half of 2017 than the firm hired in all of 2016.
Among the firm's new hires, Bruce Georgi and Gerald Barkley joined RBC’s Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania office from Janney Montgomery Scott. At Janney, they managed nearly $205 million in assets and generated $1.4 million in revenue, according to RBC.
Ameriprise added three advisors who managed $265 million in combined client assets, according to the firm.
The firm’s most recent recruits, Stephanie Karpow and Robert Lester, moved to Ameriprise’s San Diego office from MSI Financial where they oversaw $156 million in assets, the firm says.
“I felt Ameriprise was the right move because of the large selection of investment and insurance options my team can customize to help clients achieve their financial goals,” Karpow said in a statement about the move.
Raymond James taps UBS manager for Alex. Brown office
A UBS veteran joined Raymond James's Alex. Brown division as the regional executive of its Los Angeles office, a spokeswoman says.
Gary Cohen was previously a complex sales manager overseeing three UBS office locations with 95 advisors who generated $110 million in annual revenue, according to the Raymond James.
At Alex. Brown, Cohen will be tasked with expanding its presence in Southern California. The firm's Los Angeles office currently has 10 advisors who manage approximately $12 billion in client assets, a spokeswoman says.
Raymond James continues to take advantage of the wirehouse recruiting lull by hiring a Merrill Lynch father-son team who oversaw $150 million in client assets, the firm says.
John R. Edgecomb Sr. and his son, John Robb Edgecomb Jr., moved to Raymond James for its “cutting-edge technology, extremely efficient systems and a great service-first attitude,” says Edgecomb Jr. He joined as the Austin, Texas office’s new branch manager, a spokeswoman says.
Edgecomb Sr. started his career at Merrill Lynch in 1981 where he worked for 36 years. His son joined him at the wirehouse in 2005, according to FINRA BrokerCheck records.
Raymond James recruited two advisors who managed more than $400 million in combined client assets, a spokeswoman said.
The firm has been on a long-running recruiting campaign. Raymond James has been enticing over wirehouse and other advisors with a corporate culture the company says is more broker-friendly.
The brokerage firm's newest recruits made the move from Baird and J.P. Morgan Securities. Rosa Ebling and Jack Bayer joined a Raymond James' employee branch in Chicago, where they report to branch manager Brian Lampsa.
Janney Montgomery Scott continued its Southeast expansion, opening a Tennessee office with four veteran advisors who managed $330 million in combined assets, the firm says.
A former wirehouse manager also joined the new office, which is in Franklin, Tennessee. The move builds on Janney's recruiting efforts in the region. In June, the regional firm opened its fourth office in North Carolina as part of its expansion.
“Our expansion into Tennessee will allow us to cultivate new client relationships throughout the great volunteer state, and show Janney’s commitment to further growth in this region,” Jerry Lombard, president of the firm's Private Client Group, said in a statement.
A former Wells Fargo father-son team joined Stifel, making them the latest wirehouse advisors to join a regional brokerage firm this year.
Nicholas and Jason Dukas managed more than $140 million in client assets while at Wells Fargo, according to Stifel. They joined the regional firm in Clearwater, Florida, where they report to branch manager Jerry Kelly.
Nicholas Dukas is an industry veteran with more than 35 years of industry experience. He and his son had been with Wells Fargo since 2011. They previously worked at Morgan Stanley.
Janney Montgomery Scott nabbed two Merrill Lynch teams managing over $500 million in client assets, adding to an impressive recruiting record in the past 12 months.
Christopher MacPherson and Evan Gilchrest managed $350 million in client assets while at Merrill Lynch. They joined the firm's Glastonbury, Connecticut office. John Hardiman and William Lepping joined the Melville, New York branch. They previously managed $150 million in assets under management.
$311M Merrill Lynch team joins growing LPL hybrid platform
Two Merrill Lynch advisors managing $311 million in client assets bolted for a hybrid RIA in the third addition to LPL’s platform in the last three months.
Sharon Barton — who had spent 31 years with the wirehouse — and partner Jay Spector took Barton Spector Wealth Strategies to the LPL-affiliated Stratos Wealth Partners, the nation’s largest independent broker-dealer announced this week. The advisors operate their practice in Scottsdale, Arizona.