Advisor recruiting is off to a fast pace in early 2016.

Recruiting is off to a busy start this year with advisor movement and acquisitions, as well as new affiliations, offices and recruiters.

DFPG Investments of Salt Lake City, an independent broker-dealer and RIA, said Global Wealth Partners of San Jose and San Diego, California, has joined the firm.

Global Wealth Partners brings $400 million of assets to DFPG. The group is led by Lou Naser, who was previously affiliated with First Allied Securities, part of the RCS Capital-owned Cetera Financial Group. (Naser was with First Allied from 2010-2015; earlier, he worked with MetLife, starting in 1992.)

“2015 was a strong year for DFPG, and we’re thrilled to add Lou Naser and the Global Wealth Partners team to our family,” said DFPG CEO Mike Bendix, in a statement. We believe that Lou and his team strengthen the family-oriented culture we’ve work hard to create at DFPG.”  

“What initially drew us to DFPG was their unique access to alternative products. We were having difficulty getting access to the types of products our clients needed.” Naser explained in a press release. “What closed the deal for us, however, were the strong values and culture present at DFPG and in their executive team.”

DFPG President, Ryan Smith, says the firm is benefiting “from some unrest and concern” in the broker-dealer industry: “We are hearing from reps with many different broker-dealers, and the message is consistent. There appears to be a general dissatisfaction regarding service, as well as access to an adequately diverse product mix.”

In addition, “The large broker-dealer model can be a good fit for many reps and advisors. However, we are finding more and more reps looking for that boutique and specialized approach that will better accommodate their investors’ unique needs,” Smith explained.

Raymond James’ Institutional Affiliation

Raymond James says the Main Street Advisory Group, an affiliate of Marion County Bank in Pella, Iowa, will offer investment and wealth management services to its clients through Raymond James Financial Services. Advisors at Main Street include Sam Vande Weerd, Jason Rozenboom and Reid Evans.

Collectively, the advisors at Main Street Advisory Group manage about $150 million in client assets. The team previously partnered with IBA Securities, a division of Broker Dealer Financial Services Corp.

“We chose Raymond James because it provides its clients with superior research, technology and planning tools,” said Vande Weerd in a statement. “The breadth of the resources and the type of support available to its financial advisors will allow us to provide more in-depth service to our clients, and ultimately, to help them better achieve their financial goals.”

Merrill Lynch, U.S. Bank

Merrill Lynch has announced that Teresa Valdes-Fauli Weintraub has joined the firm in Coral Gables as a managing director. She joins from Fiduciary Trust International of the South, where she has been president, CEO and a member of the board since 1998.

Weintraub will report to Josh Moody, Merrill Lynch managing director and Miami market executive, and will work with her son, Robert Weintraub, who has been a financial advisor with Merrill Lynch since 2010—as well as with Gabriella Adessi, who also joined Merrill Lynch from Fiduciary Trust International of the South.

In other news, U.S. Bank Wealth Management has announced that Steven Blazek has been named wealth management advisor for the Private Client Reserve in Denver.

Blazek, who has worked in the banking and financial services industry since 1989, was formerly a private banking relationship manager.

Securities America

Bonnie Reed has joined Securities America’s branch-office-development recruiting team.

“When hiring for skilled recruiters, we wanted to find someone who already knew the ins and outs of the business,” Gary Bender, Securities America first vice president and national director of recruiting, said in a statement. “Reed’s enthusiasm and experience in national recruiting and transition in the independent broker-dealer space make her the perfect addition to our team.”

With more than 15 years of financial services industry experience as a senior regional director focused on Eastern states, Reed was most recently vice president of recruiting and transition for Voya Financial Advisors.

(Securities America, an independent broker-dealer, is owned by Ladenburg Thalmann.)

Lebenthal, EP Wealth News

Lebenthal Asset Management says it has acquired the assets of Griffin Asset Management, an independent SEC-registered investment advisor. With this transaction, total assets under management for all Lebenthal entities rises to over $2.5 billion.

Griffin is led by Douglas Famigletti, president and chief investment officer. The firm was founded by Famigletti’s father, Thomas, in 1994. In 2006, Griffin merged with Hovey Youngman Associates. It manages separate accounts for clients as well as a mutual fund.

EP Wealth Advisors has announced the addition of an office in Irvine, California. Opened at the end of September, the new office for the Los Angeles-based firm is aimed at better serving its Orange County clients.

The firm, which counts 17 financial advisors among its total staff of 40, manages or advises nearly $2 billion in client assets. It serves clients in California and Colorado.

— Read the Dec. 23 Recruiting Roundup on ThinkAdvisor.