Raymond James, Wells Fargo Grab Teams From Rivals

Meanwhile, Securities America and Stratos Wealth attract groups of breakaway brokers

Raymond James (RJF) said Wednesday that a team of three investment advisors has moved to the firm from Wells Fargo (WFC) and another firm. The group of Robert Leggett, James Tharin and Clint Sorenson — all CFAs — have formed Emerald Asset Management, an independent investment advisory firm in North Carolina.

“Welcoming Robert, James, Clint and their team to Raymond James is part of a continuing trend of larger fee-based teams departing wirehouses for the independent RIA model,” said Bill Van Law, president of Investment Advisors Division of the brokerage firm, in a press release.

Before affiliating with Raymond James, the team had more than $200 million in combined client assets and annual fees of more than $1.9 million. Sorenson and Tharin moved to the team from Wells Fargo Advisors, while Leggett left UBS in late 2013 to join Purshe Kaplan Sterling Investments before moving to Raymond James.

Tharin and Sorenson “decided in order to really help our clients control costs and manage risks the way we wanted, we needed to form our own RIA firm,” Soresson said in a statement. “Raymond James introduced us to Robert, who was going through the exact same process at UBS, and so together we formed Emerald Asset Management.”

Emerald Asset Management specializes in building investment strategies for both individuals and institutions. The group has developed its own proprietary quantitative process for constructing portfolios.

Wells Fargo

Meanwhile, Wells Fargo Advisors says the Lev Sher Group has moved to its wealth-management group from Morgan Stanley in Woodbury, N.Y.

“The Lev Sher Group’s commitment to their client’s over all financial success has been most impressive,” said Woodbury complex manager Gregory O’Keefe, in a press release. “It is a privilege to welcome them to Wells Fargo Advisors.”

The team includes Norman Lev and Glen Sher, as well as Michael Jeshiva. Combined, the three veteran advisors manage more than $236 million in assets.

“Throughout our many years of experience, we have helped guide clients with a wide variety of goals and objectives through all types of economic cycles,” said Lev, in a statement. “We chose Wells Fargo Advisors for the tools and support it provides as we continue to help our clients succeed financially.” 

Securities America

Securities America, part of Ladenburg Thalmann (LTS), says that advisors Jonathan Lifschutz and David Reed have affiliated with its operations after leaving Morgan Stanley.

Lifschutz and Reed, who together managed $75 million in client assets, joined the United Advisors Private Client Group Great Neck office in New York, just two days after the location opened.

According to Securities America, the pair will be using the hybrid independent wealth advisory business model Securities America developed in a partnership with United Advisors, a privately owned financial services company.

“We are excited to have Jonathan and David as the first two advisors to join our new support model for wirehouse brokers,” said Mark Penske, chairman of United Advisors, in a press release.

“Most advisors who leave a wirehouse go to another wirehouse because few independent-broker dealers understand what they need,” Penske explained. “Our partnership with Securities America gives Jonathan and David an independent hybrid option with the turnkey office space, staff and support they are comfortable with. We expect more breakaway advisors to find our model appealing.”

Stratos Wealth

Callen Schramm and Heather Schramm, financial advisors in Baton Rouge, recently left Merrill Lynch to affiliate with Stratos Wealth Partners, an independent, hybrid RIA firm that trades securities via LPL Financial (LPLA).

Previously affiliated with Merrill Lynch, the husband-and-wife team do business as Schramm Financial Group, which should maintain about $155 million of client assets in the transition.

Callen and Heather have more than 35 years of combined experience in the financial services industry and specialize in retirement planning and 401(k) rollovers for their clients — most of whom work in the petrochemical industry, according to Securities America.

The couple is actively involved in the Baton Rouge community, and both are graduates of Louisiana State University, where they received degrees in finance.

Stratos Wealth Partners has added more than 40 advisors to its network in the past year. It has more than $1.05 billion in client assets under management in advisory accounts and an additional $5.1 billion in brokerage assets held in accounts with LPL Financial.

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