Raymond James & Associates President Tash Elwyn.

Raymond James (RJF) said Thursday that it had hired an industry veteran to help it expand its employee-advisor operations on the West Coast: Rick Sanchez, an industry veteran and native of the San Francisco Bay Area, who ran Morgan Stanley’s (MS) branch network about 10 years ago.

“As Raymond James looks to deliver on our objective of both expanding existing offices and establishing a number of new Raymond James & Associates locations in the western states,” stated Tash Elwyn, president of RJA, in a statement, “he, along with our recent management appointees in San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle, coupled with our existing managers on the West Coast, will lead a focused expansion in these regions that are a key part of our growth strategy for the firm.”

Sanchez is now regional director of the newly formed West Coast Region, which includes California, Oregon and Washington, and reports to Western Division Director Pat Allison. He has been in the business for over 30 years, after joining Dean Witter in 1983.

“Raymond James offers advisors the attractive experience they are looking for,” Sanchez said in an interview with ThinkAdvisor.

“Like me, they can look back at firms they worked for 20 or 30 years ago fondly, when there was a true sense of partnership,” he explained. “But these firms have been rolled up over the years. As advisors look to leave institutions, Raymond James has a sweet spot for them.”

Last month, for instance, Raymond James recruited a team from RBC to join its employee-advisor office in Los Angeles. Paul Berman and Joshua Rosenzweig have managed about $200 million in client assets and had about $2.6 million in yearly fees and commissions last year.

(Berman began his financial services career at Merrill Lynch in 1980 and later worked at Drexel Burnham Lambert, Bear Stearns & Co., Prudential and Wachovia. Rosenzweig previously worked at Ameriprise Financial Services (AMP) before joining Berman at RBC.)

‘Back Home’

As for Sanchez, he describes both his own move to Raymond James and that of recent recruits as “finding the right firm at the right time.”

“The firm brings what advisors are looking for, in terms of a culture that hasn’t been diluted in the past decade, as opposed to what’s happened at bigger firms. Yet its technology platform is world class,” the executive stated.

After coming on board as an advisor, Sanchez moved up the ranks within Dean Witter, which merged with Morgan Stanley in the late ‘90s. He served as a regional sales manager, western regional director, national sales director and then director of Global Wealth Management, which had some 440 branches and 10,000 financial advisors.

Due to a change in leadership – current CEO James Gorman became part of these operations in 2006 – Sanchez elected to start his own firm in Purchase, New York, named SeaCrest Wealth Management.  

“I grew up outside Santa Rosa, California,” he said. “I’m glad to be back home.”

As of Dec. 31, Raymond James’ employee channel had 2,491 FAs, while its independent group had 3,369 affiliated reps.

— Check out Raymond James Adds 6 From LPL; Wells Fargo Grabs 5 From Morgan Stanley on ThinkAdvisor.