Slideshow Billion-Dollar Club: Biggest Advisor Moves of 2014

  • December 09 2014, 3:59pm EST
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Billion Dollar Club

This year has been a strong one for recruiting. Ten mega teams – those managing from $900 million to $4.5 billion in assets – switched firms. Most of these moves were between wirehouses, though two teams went independent and another two moved to regional broker-dealers. Click through to see how big these teams are and where they went.

Raymond James Nets Team With $900M

An advisor team managing $900 million in assets joined Raymond James & Associates in December.

The group, now known as Quattuor Capital Partners of Raymond James, left J.P. Morgan Securities, where they generated $6.7 million in annual revenue. The team is led by managing director Howard Franzblau, and includes managing directors Richard Devine, Wayne Froud and David B. Brennan.

Brennan also serves as branch manager. The team opened Raymond James' first office in New York.

The team members began considering making a move two years ago, says Franzblau, a 30-year industry veteran. After considering different options, including going independent, the team opted for Raymond James because of the culture, platform and management.

"It was a long, slow process, but we really believe that this was the right move for us," he says.

Image: Howard Franzblau, Richard Devine, Wayne Froud and David B. Brennan

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Wells Fargo Grabs Team With Nearly $1B

In November, the Reed, Gates, Strait Wealth Management Group joined Wells Fargo Advisors in Lexington, Ky. The group is comprised of advisors Mike Reed, Zach Gates and Eli Strait, who managed more than $972 million in combined client assets and deposits at J.P. Morgan.

The team has a combined 28 years of experience in the industry, according to FINRA.

Image: Mike Reed, Zach Gates and Eli Strait

Billion-Dollar Breakaways

Focus Financial helped a UBS team breakaway to form IFM Capital Advisors. The team, which managed $1 billion in assets, formed their new practice in January. Led by veteran advisors Timothy Kneen and Clayton Hartman, the practice had offices in Denver, Fort Collins, Colo., and Sioux Falls, S.D.

IFM became a partner firm with Focus, which provided the group with resources to aide their transition.

"We've always wanted to hold the very best interest of our clients first. Doing it in the independent field allows us to do that better. It actually enables us to increase returns by reducing expenses," said Hartman following their move.

Image: Clayton Hartman and Timothy Kneen

Morgan's Big Pull

The firm welcomed a Merrill Lynch duo with $1.1 billion in AUM in August.

Advisors Charles Malamut and Michael Torpey joined Morgan's office in Northfield, N.J.

Malamut was a long-time Merrill veteran, having been with the firm since 1986, according to FINRA records. Torpey had been at Merrill since 2008.

Image: Bloomberg

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Mega Team Goes Independent

Two Morgan Stanley advisors with $1.2 billion went independent in January with Lebenthal Wealth Advisors, a young firm with a venerable Wall Street name that was started last year.

Advisors, Carrie Gallaway, 37, and Andrew Stern, 38, signed on as partners with an equity stake in Lebenthal. The firm is led by CEO Frank Campanale, a former executive at Smith Barney and E.F. Hutton.

Image: Carrie Gallaway and Andrew Stern

UBS Nets Advisor With $1.5B AUM

UBS Private Wealth Management lured away an advisor from Merrill Lynch managing $1.5 billion. In November, James Hulburd joined the Swiss-owned wirehouse in Walnut Creek, Calif., where he reports to complex director Stephen McCashin. Hulburd had been with Merrill since 2001, according to FINRA records.

He combined his practice with Brian Sharpes, another advisor at UBS Private Wealth Management.

Image: Bloomberg

Wells Fargo Nabs $1.5B Team

Wells Fargo Advisors lured away a team from J.P. Morgan that managed $1.5 billion in assets. In June, advisors John Bueno, John Raetz, and Noah Robinson joined Wells Fargo in Birmingham, Mich., a Detroit suburb.

Image: Bloomberg

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Stifel's Big Pick

Stifel recruited a former Merrill Lynch advisor duo who managed $2.5 billion at the wirehouse. Advisors Stephen Brown and James Goetz made the move to Stifel after Merrill terminated their employment in September. The two advisors joined Stifel's Rochester, N.Y., office in October.

Goetz has 16 years of experience in the industry, according to FINRA records. Brown has 26 years of experience. He had been at Merrill since 1991.

Image: Stephen Brown

Merrill Lands $3B Team

Merrill Lynch's Private Banking & Investment Group added an advisor team with $3 billion in AUM.

Howard Rowen and Halsey Smith joined the firm's Los Angeles office in April. The two came together from separate firms to form their new team, with Smith having left Deutsche Bank and Rowen have departed UBS.

The team works primarily with ultrawealthy clients, and at the time of the move, described their business as 60% institutional and 40% families.

While their move was going smoothly, transitions can be tricky affairs, Smith said. "It's a blood sport – it's a mad dash to get those clients to stay and we're trying to do the opposite, trying to get them to come join us at Merrill Lynch."

Image: Bloomberg

Morgan's $4.5B Pickup

In the largest grab of the year so far, Morgan Stanley picked up a Merrill Lynch team managing $4.5 billion in assets.

In September, the Brice Group, led by brothers Brian and Timothy Brice, joined Morgan's Graystone Consulting arm in Birmingham, Mich., the same Detroit suburb where Wells Fargo recruited a $1.5 billion team from J.P. Morgan.

The Brice Group had about $8 million in production while at Merrill Lynch.

Other members of the Brice Group included Rebecca Wolfe, vice president and group director; Ray Fortin, vice president and business development director; Stephanie Mills, institutional consulting associate; Diane Roegner, senior client service associate and Julie Pawlowski, consulting group analyst.

Image: Brian and Timothy Brice