More Merrill Departures: Recruiting Roundup

Raymond James adds an employee team, and HighTower grabs a breakaway duo; Triad recruits a group from Commonwealth

Recruiting in early 2017 is on a tear. Recruiting in early 2017 is on a tear.

Raymond James and HighTower are among the firms recruiting advisors from Merrill Lynch over the past few weeks.

Analysts have speculated that some registered reps have been leaving the Thundering Herd due to its decision to end commission-based retirement accounts. Recently though, Merrill says it is considering giving some clients the options of keeping such accounts, given possible delays to the rollout of the Department of Labor's new fiduciary rule.  

This week, Raymond James said it added advisors David Lum and Michael Piazza to its employee channel in Stuart, Florida, with about $220 million in client assets and some $1.7 million in yearly fees and commissions.

“We are delighted to welcome David, Mike and Theresa to our firm and our Stuart office,” said Patrick O’Connor, Raymond James & Associates Florida regional director, in a statement “Attracting a veteran financial advisor like David, with his years of experience, outstanding reputation and credentials, is a testament to the broad range of support and resources he and his team will find here at Raymond James.”

Lum began his financial services career in 1981 at E.F. Hutton in New York. He joined Prudential Securities in 1988 and became an advisor; moving to Merrill Lynch in 1999.

“After just a week at Raymond James I feel I have returned to my roots,” said Lum. “For my entire career I have served just one master – and that is my client. I am enjoying being with a firm that is rooted in the premise that the client comes first,” Lum said in a press release.

Piazza cut his teeth in the business as an intern with Merrill Lynch in 2010. During his off-seasons, he was a professional baseball player with the Los Angeles Angels and Colorado Rockies. He became a full-time financial advisor in 2015.

HighTower Adds Team

HighTower Advisors says Merrill Lynch team has gone independent and joined it as a partner: Ewing/Cona Wealth Management in Marlton, New Jersey, is run by Jim Ewing and Michael Cona, who have about $200 million in client assets.  

This is the fourth team to move to HighTower in 2017.

"Financial advisor teams like Ewing/Cona Wealth Management come to HighTower to accelerate the growth of their businesses among a community of like-minded peers in a fiduciary environment," said HighTower CEO Elliot Weissbluth, in a statement."The HighTower culture, brand and platform reflect our signature 'by-advisors-for-advisors' approach."

Ewing has about 18 years of industry experience and served as a wealth management advisor at Merrill Lynch for nearly a decade, after working as a registered rep for A.G. Edwards and two other firms.

"Our clients are successful individuals, families, and business owners with complex financial needs," said Ewing, in a press release. "Working with HighTower allows us to deliver the comprehensive wealth management guidance they expect and deserve."

Cona oversees the financial planning process for Ewing/Cona Wealth Management. He was with Susquehanna Capital from 2000 to 2005, before moving to Merrill.

"HighTower's commitment to the fiduciary standard aligns with our team's core values," said Cona, in a statement. "We are proud to join a community of professionals dedicated to putting clients' best interests first."

Triad News

Triad Advisors, a hybrid advisor-focused independent broker-dealer, announced that Legacy Wealth Partners has transitioned to its platform with about $190 million in client assets.

Based in Woodland Hills, California, Legacy was founded in 2007 by Brad Levin, CFP, AIF, CDFA, and David Tracy, CFP, the firm’s COO.

Levin and Tracy have close to 40 years of combined advisor experience. They move to Triad from Commonwealth Financial, the firm they were affiliated with since 2007.

“We are delighted to welcome Legacy Wealth Partners to Triad’s broker-dealer and hybrid registered investment advisor (RIA) platform,” said Nathan Stibbs, chief strategy officer at Triad Advisors. “We are pleased to be able to offer Legacy the flexibility and freedom they were seeking …”

Based in Atlanta, Triad Advisors is owned by Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services.

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