Raymond James, LPL Add Morgan Stanley Advisors as MSSB Grabs Wells Team

Two teams leave Morgan Stanley to go independent via a hybrid affiliate, while another maintains its employee status

Morgan Stanley headquarters in Times Square. (Photo: AP) Morgan Stanley headquarters in Times Square. (Photo: AP)

Movement affecting Morgan Stanley (MS) advisors is still heating up this summer, with Raymond James (RJF) and an LPL Financial-hybrid affiliate (LPLA) attracting three teams from the firm on Tuesday. Still, Morgan Stanley is recruiting from rivals as well, and it picked up a Wells Fargo (WFC) team on June 5.

Raymond James' employee channel says it successfully recruited Robert D. Powell, Walter M. Urban and Tyler Mercer, who recently formed Alpha Capital Partners in Mount Laurel, N.J. The ex-Morgan Stanley Smith Barney team had previously managed $187 million in client assets and had annual fees and commissions of $1.45 million.

“We are thrilled to welcome such an accomplished team to Raymond James,” said Ira Federer, the Eastern Division director of Raymond James & Associates, in a press release. “They are extremely talented, with a proven track record, and bring extensive experience to our firm. We could not ask for a stronger group to open the first RJ&A office in Mount Laurel.”

“Our team was committed to moving our practice to a smaller, more responsive firm that was not Wall Street-based,” said Urban, in a statement. “We wanted a firm free of the incessant negative headline risk that plagued broker-dealers owned by the larger, multinational banks. Our search identified Raymond James as being a firm with a high level of integrity and a reputation for doing things, ‘right’ for their clients.”

Urban, a former captain in the U.S. Navy and Navy Reserve, started his advisory work with Legg Mason in Philadelphia.

A senior vice president of investments, Powell has more than 40 years of experience in the industry, having begun his career with Janney Montgomery Scott. He spent 17 years with Morgan Stanley Smith Barney and its predecessor firms.

Mercer began his career with American Express, later joining Legg Mason Wood Walker and ultimately Morgan Stanley.

Powell, Urban and Mercer specialize in providing their clients with trend-analysis portfolio management, which combines technical research with fundamental analysis to create core model portfolios.

“We also had the opportunity to ‘anchor’ a brand-new branch in a geographic area of our choosing. When we added all these factors together, our choice to move to Raymond James was an easy one,” Urban said.

For its part, Morgan Stanley says it is able to draw advisors from rival firms, including a Wells Fargo team that joined it on June 5 and previously had nearly $1.5 million in yearly production: William Schick and Paul Derrick joined MSSB in Syracuse, N.Y., and now report to complex manager Dean Wallace.

New LPL-Affiliated Advisors

Also on Tuesday, Stratos Wealth Partners, a hybrid registered investment advisor affiliated with LPL Financial, said a team had joined it from Morgan Stanley in to open an office in Ogden, Utah. The team includes Craig P. Adams and Steve Beierlein and expands the network of Stratos Wealth Partners to more than 125 affiliated reps with more than $4 billion in client assets under management.

The Ogden office of Stratos Wealth Partners will maintain about $250 million in client assets through the transition to an independent business model and has more than 70 years of combined experience in the industry.

 “As the investment world changes, it’s important for us to broaden our abilities to better serve the financial needs of clients who place their trust in us. An independent client-centered business model allows us to act as our clients advocate first and foremost,” said Craig P. Adams, a certified financial planner, in a press release.

“Being backed by the nation’s leading independent broker-dealer in LPL Financial allows us to focus on our number one priority, the concerns of our clients, without bias or conflict,” said Steve Beierlein, partner and branch manager, in a statement.

For its part, LPL says it is “delighted that Craig P. Adams and Steve Beierlein have chosen to join forces with Stratos Wealth Partners, one of our leading independent branches,” said Bill Morrissey, executive vice president of business development at LPL Financial, in a press release. “This transition reflects both the flexibility and choice we provide to independent advisors that want to affiliate directly or indirectly with LPL Financial, as well as our continued success in attracting advisory practices from all channels to our platform.”

A second team partnering with Stratos in Logan, Utah, has over 35 years of combined industry experience and about $100 million in assets under management.

“It is exciting to create a private firm specially designed to combine exceptional planning capabilities and a selection of optimal investments unbiased by a single proprietary platform,” said S. Craig Adams, CFP and managing director of Adams Wealth Advisors. “Our decision to become an independent hybrid RIA firm not only opens a new door for us, but also expands the opportunities where we can truly be aligned with our number one priority – our clients.”

And, of course, LPL executives are pleased another group is coming on board as an affiliate. “We are delighted that Adams Wealth Advisors has chosen to join forces with Stratos Wealth Partners, one of our leading independent branches," said Morrissey, in a separate press release.

"This transition reflects both the flexibility and choice we provide to independent advisors that want to affiliate directly or indirectly with LPL Financial, as well as our continued success in attracting advisory practices from all channels to our platform," he explained. "We look forward to utilizing our industry-leading resources, scale and services to help drive the ongoing growth of both Stratos Wealth Partners and Adams Wealth Advisors.”

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