Morgan Stanley, Raymond James Name Regional Heads

Meanwhile, Merrill Lynch and Wells Fargo’s independent-advisor unit share their latest recruiting news

Morgan Stanley (MS) has a new regional manager for its private wealth business in the Northwest, while Raymond James (RJF) has a new director for its independent channel operations in the central states.

Late Monday, Doug Ketterer, Morgan Stanley’s head of field and private wealth management, announced that Wendi Eckardt will lead the private wealth operations for the wirehouse in the Northwest. “Wendi joins us from UBS, where for the past eight years she has led that firm’s effort in the ultrahigh-net-worth market in Northern California,” Ketterer explained in a memo.

Morgan Stanley’s private-wealth business focuses on ultrahigh-net worth clients, who generally have at least $10 million in investable assets.

Eckardt began her career in financial services at Morgan Stanley in 1992. She was with UBS from 2005 to 2013.

(In late August, Morgan Stanley added nine advisors from rival firms with about $10 million in yearly fees & commissions, as well as more than $1.8 billion in total client assets.)

Meanwhile, Raymond James says that Kirk Bell has been promoted to director for the Central U.S. for its independent channel, Raymond James Financial Services. Bell replaces David Patchen, who was asked to lead the firm’s private-client group education and practice management efforts in mid-August.

“After interviewing numerous qualified candidates, I am very pleased to promote Kirk to this important role,” said Scott Curtis, president of RJFS, in a press release. “Kirk consistently receives positive feedback from the many financial advisors he supports and is highly regarded by those with whom he interacts.”

Bell began his work in the business at Merrill Lynch and joined Raymond James in 2000.

“I am extremely excited to be given such a great opportunity,” Bell said in a statement. “I have supported the Central Region for more than eight years, and I am looking forward to building upon an already solid foundation.”

Bell is now responsible for risk management and supervision, branch manager and advisor relationship management, recruiting and practice management coaching in 12 states with more than 450 advisors in 217 branches. These reps are expected to produce some $175 million in revenues this fiscal year.

In early September, Raymond James said it recruited three advisors doing business as the Portland Harbor Group in Maine from Morgan Stanley. They joined Raymond James’ employee-advisor channel this summer with more than $500 million in client assets and some $3.4 million in annual fees & commissions.

It also added recently advisor Stephen Valelly to the employee channel as a senior vice president of investments in Dallas. Valelly comes to Raymond James from Jefferies & Co., where he managed more than $100 million in client assets.

FiNet Recruiting

Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network (WFC) said Friday that it added 10 new practices with more than $1 billion in assets under management in July and August.

“Business owners who have joined us are advocates for their clients’ best interests, and we’re proud that they are recognizing the strength of our client-centric culture,” said Kent Christian, president of FiNet, in a statement.

Among those joining Wells’ independent channel is John Toman, who came over from Morgan Stanley with about $2.3 million in yearly fees and commissions, as well as about $220 million in assets. Toman is based in San Diego and has nearly 20 years of industry experience.

Brian Stewart, another ex-Morgan Stanley advisor is now with FiNet in Irvine, Calif. He has 28 years of industry experience and $130 million in AUM.

Movement to Merrill

Bank of America-Merrill Lynch (BAC) said early last week that it recruited several advisors with more than $500 million in combined client assets “to serve growing demand for wealth management services in these offices.” The three reps came on board in late August.

Diane Padalino joined Merrill Lynch’s Private Banking & Investment Group in Denver from Goldman Sachs (GS). She has managed $325 million in client assets and had close to $1.9 million in yearly production.

Merrill Lynch has also hired John Molkentin and Denise Chin Quee from Morgan Stanley in Miami. The team has $183 million in client assets and more than $1.3 million in annual fees and commissions.

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Check out Next-Gen Advisor Crisis: Numbers to Shrink by 2017, Cerulli Says on ThinkAdvisor.

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