Baird said Thursday that it hired Wells Fargo-veteran Jason Schlesinger to join its San Francisco wealth-management office. And on Friday, an executive with the firm said that the employee-owned firm is open to speaking with independent advisors, such as those with Securities America.
Schlesinger has some $200 million in assets and generates $1.3 million in annual production or sales. He was with Wells Fargo for three years, previously with Bank of America and comes to Baird along with relationship specialist Stephanie Wong.
Baird, which now includes nearly 700 financial advisors, has hired nearly 200 FAs and branch managers since early 2009. It had about $63 billion in client assets as of year-end 2010.
Since January 1, 2011, Baird has hired about 15 advisors and branch managers – most of whom have joined from Morgan Stanley Smith Barney and Wells Fargo.
“We are bringing on advisors from many firms,” said Matt Curley, national sales director and COO of Baird Private Wealth Management, in an interview. “We are really able to hire from everyone, because financial professionals are finding a unique story with us that they cannot find elsewhere.”
Baird, Curley says, operates as an international, employee-owned firm focusing on wealth management, capital markets, private equity and asset management.
Since 2007, the firm has added several senior-level associates in the Bay Area, such as a co-head of equity capital markets, several technology and clean- technology investment bankers and equity research associates, and a number of veteran equity traders.
“We can take the right long-term approach for clients, and this is a big part of our culture,” explained Curley.
According to the Milwaukee-based executive, Baird ramped up its hiring before the financial-crisis and then saw a big pick-up in recruiting in 2008 and 2009.
“As things were melting down, we hired people in all our divisions, because we had the capital and could be aggressive in bring on the top talent,” noted Curley.
And how about today, when problems are popping up at Securities America and other independent broker-dealers?
“In general, we are opportunistic when there are changes at other organizations,” the executive explained. “Advisors do look at other options, and we can attract those we want.”
Not everyone that Baird speaks with, of course, will be brought on board as an employee advisor or staff member, he adds.
“We are very selective and look for high-quality people and high-quality businesses. Some advisors may not meet all our criteria,” Curley shared, noting that Baird has hired FAs from the independent model in the past.
In addition to its product “depth,” he says that Baird stands out for its Midwestern values and stability. “We’ve remained consistent for 90-plus years,” Curley concluded. “And as other firms have gone or may go through changes, it helps us quite a bit to hire those that are successful.”