Baird Hires Nine FAs From Morgan Stanley, Adds Two Branches

By adding teams in South Carolina and Texas, Baird's wealth-management operations stand to gain about $1.3 billion in client assets

Baird on Tuesday, August 24, hired nine financial advisors from Morgan Stanley Smith Barney in Charleston, S.C., and Fort Worth, Texas, with about $1.3 billion in total client assets.

As a result of the recent hires, Baird says, it has hired nearly 50 new financial advisors and branch managers this year and a total of 91 wealth-management professionals.

Its 660 financial advisors operate in 65 branches and have roughly $57 billion in assets under management.

Baird's Fort Worth office will be staffed by six former Morgan Stanley Smith Barney advisors, who have an average of 20 years of industry experience each and $920 million in client assets.

"We are very pleased to welcome these wealth management professionals to Baird and extend the firm's presence to Fort Worth," said Jarrett Kovics, branch manager of the firm's Dallas office in a statement.

"All of these advisors are seasoned industry veterans with tremendous track records of success, and we are delighted they have chosen to continue providing the highest level of service to their valued clients at Baird," explained Kovics, who will supervise the Fort Worth branch.

"By opening a second office in the region with these talented financial professionals, Baird is demonstrating our commitment to the Dallas-Fort Worth area and our continued success attracting top advisors," said Matt Curley, regional director for Baird's Private Wealth Management group, in a press release.

The office in Charleston will be led by Charles "Bucky" W. Knowlton Jr., who has been in the business for 37 years. Joining him are advisors Mildred Kitchell and Nicholas L. Verano IV and office manager Sandra Gary.

"These well-respected and talented financial professionals are a great addition to Baird and will be instrumental in helping us establish a wealth-management presence in Charleston," said John Mabee, regional director for Baird's Private Wealth Management group in a press release. "We are delighted they have chosen Baird as the right place for them to continue serving their clients."

"Baird offered us the perfect package: a return to the client-focused culture we cherished as part of a smaller regional firm and an incredibly broad platform of services and capabilities often associated only with wirehouse firms," explained Knowlton in a statement.

The firm recently opened wealth management offices in Charlotte, N.C., and Winston-Salem, N.C., and announced plans to open an additional wealth management office in Raleigh, N.C.

It opened its Charlotte office after hiring four FAs with about $350 million in assets from Morgan Stanley Smith Barney in late May.

In July, Baird hired Wells Fargo veteran William Welsh as a director to lead its San Francisco wealth-management office. Baird also has two equity and fixed-income capital markets offices in San Francisco, an investment banking office in Palo Alto and three wealth management offices in the greater Sacramento area.

Earlier in the summer, Baird picked up four advisors from UBS with $160 million. They joined Baird in Milwaukee, where the firm is based.

In 2009, Baird's added more than 100 financial advisors to its Private Wealth Management group.

"We are careful in how we manage the business, because about half of the associates own a piece of the company, which is privately held," said Denise Wypiszenski, COO of Baird Private Wealth Management, in a phone interview in April.

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