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$3B Team Joins Wave of Reps Saying No to Stifel

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Stifel Financial’s (SF) plan to acquire 180 advisors from Barclays — announced seven weeks ago — have hit another snag with Monday’s news that a group of these reps with some $3 billion in client assets has decided to form an RIA.

The group of five advisors, one investment professional and eight other staff members is launching Summit Trail Advisors and has formed a partnership with Dynasty Financial Partners.

This development comes in addition to other departures from Barclays, including 15 advisors who moved to Bank of America-Merrill Lynch (BAC) and one who joined Morgan Stanley (MS) recently, according to the Wall Street Journal, which says that about 12% of Barclays’ reps won’t be joining Stifel.

The news points to broader trends affecting employee broker-dealers and Stifel in particular, says one industry expert.

“This underscores the attractiveness of the RIA model to some of the industry’s top producers,” said Mark Elzweig, a New York-based executive search consultant, in an interview with ThinkAdvisor.

In addition, it highlight the fact that Stifel “is a good regional firm, but some financial advisors at Barclays want to be with a firm that has a name that resonates more specifically in the high-net-worth space and with a platform for this type of client … There have been quite a lot of departures from Barclays since the merger was announced [on June 8.]”

The advisors and colleagues forming Summit Trail Advisors say their move is about the limitations of being a captured advisor.

“It’s more a move toward independence than away from Barclays, where we had a good experience and results,” said Jack Petersen, managing partner of Summit, in an interview. “Stifel is a good firm, and we have some friends who are going there. For us and what we want to do, it’s very difficult to do in the current broker-dealer bank model.” 

The new RIA plans to help its clients with an open-architecture wealth platform that is blended with loans, tax planning, estate work, other business and robust technology. “Technology is just superior in the independent space,” Petersen said.

Plus, says Elzweig, the Summit advisors own their own firm and can tell clients they are being “objectively supported by a multi-custodial platform. This really enhances the ability of the advisor to provide service in a best-of-breed format.”

Stifel and Barclays declined to comment on the departure of advisors.

Merrill Lynch said Monday that its Private Banking and Investment Group had hired Peter Kong and John Shaw from Barclays Wealth Management; the team had $6 million in fees and commissions last year. In addition, JPMorgan (JPM) confirmed that it recruited five ex-Barclays advisors recently.

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