In an increasingly busy recruitment atmosphere, three advisors left Merrill Lynch behind to join an independent wealth advisory firm on LPL Financial’s platform, while another firm departed LPL for NFP Advisor Services, Raymond James gained a $2.7 million team in Florida and Wells Fargo welcomed a new team.

Other moves in the industry included mergers, new offices and new hires.

Jeff Kocis, John Kinsella and Richard Rohlfing have joined IHT Wealth Management (IHT), an independent financial advisory firm on LPL’s broker-dealer and hybrid RIA platforms. The three said that, based on prior business, they collectively served more than $200 million of client assets as of Dec. 15. The three will be opening IHT’s newest office in Oakbrook, Illinois, bringing the number of the Chicago-based firm’s offices up to five offices with a total of 17 advisors.

The three moved to IHT because they sought to create a team structure. “In addition, by joining with LPL and IHT, we can provide our clients with objective financial advice that will allow us to find strategies tailored for their needs,” Kocis said in a statement. He added, “This move will allow us to have access to enhanced support and resources that can help us further help our clients now as well as in the future.”

NFP, Raymond James, Wells Fargo Add Teams

Raymond James welcomed Saylor Moreman Heaton Wealth Management of Raymond James to its traditional employee broker-dealer in The Villages, Florida. Financial advisors Steve Saylor, Matt Moreman and Jason Heaton joined from Merrill Lynch, where they previously managed $370 million in client assets and had annual fees and commissions of $2.7 million.

Padilla, Singh & Associates Wealth Management, Inc. left LPL Financial to join the broker-dealer and registered investment advisor platform of NFP Advisor Services. PS&A is headquartered in Los Angeles, and is led by principals Don Padilla and Shkira Singh.

In a joint statement, Padilla and Singh said, “We selected NFP Advisor Services because of its robust technology capabilities that meet and anticipate our clients’ evolving expectations. With a solid track record and high level of service, particularly through its direct management access, we consistently found ourselves arriving at NFP Advisor Services as the leader in our search process.”

Wells Fargo gained the team of the Stevenson Group, which came to the firm in Dublin, Ohio, from Morgan Stanley. Financial advisors Brian Stevenson and Jay Knapp lead the group, which managed $195 million in client assets in its prior home. At Wells Fargo, the group reports to Dublin branch manager Lucas Koffler and Columbus, Ohio, complex manager Jeremy Seck.

Two California Wealth Advisory Firms Merge

Southern California-based EP Wealth Advisors has announced a merger with Ballou Plum Wealth Advisors, founded by Lynn Ballou and Marilyn Plum. The former firm manages approximately $2 billion for clients nationwide, while the latter, in the San Francisco Bay area, advises on more than $300 million in client assets.

The merger is part of a five-year plan of continued growth throughout the state. Not only did it give “EP Wealth a natural expansion into a new geographic market,” but Ballou Plum “help[s] us meet the market’s demand for more female advisors — which is part of a culture shift in financial services,” Patrick Goshtigian, president of EP Wealth Advisors, said in a statement. Dynasty, Beacon Pointe Add New Offices; RBC Gains Team

Dynasty Financial Partners is opening a new office in the Chicago Loop. It has also hired Jeremy Zoladz as a vice president, relationship management in Chicago; he reports to John Sullivan, senior vice president. Zoladz joins from Morgan Stanley.

Beacon Pointe Advisors has come to San Diego, thanks to the addition of Mark Flint, previously of Brandes Investment Partners. Flint, who joined the Private Client Services Group, will operate out of his office in Carmel Valley.

RBC Wealth Management announced that the team of the Prentice Group has joined its Palm Desert branch from Merrill Lynch. Advisors Tom Prentice and Young Chung have approximately $280 million in AUM and $1.8 million in production.

U.S. Trust, Baird, Northern Trust Add Advisors

U.S. Trust added six advisors in six states. David Sorensen, formerly at Wells Fargo, joined the Walnut Creek, California, office; Mark Schirmer, formerly at PNC Corp., joined the Winter Park, Florida office; Caitlin Roos, formerly with Belmont Savings Bank, came on board at the Boston office; Edward Titcomb, formerly at Wells Fargo, joined in Minneapolis; Jesse Neumyer, formerly at Citibank, joined in New York City; and Michael Nexsen left Hayek Kayllen Investment Management to join the Charlottesville, Virginia, office.

Meanwhile, Baird welcomed Andrew Schlafer to its Eau Claire, Wisconsin, wealth management office as Senior vice president. Schlafer was formerly with Edward Jones.

And Northern Trust beefed up its foundation and institutional advisory group in the Midwest with the addition of Gregory Jordan and Christine Holm, both based in Chicago. Jordan was formerly with Wells Fargo, and Holm came from Fifth Third Bank.

FSI Adds Kropp to Board

Last but not least, the Financial Services Institute tapped Kimberly Kropp of Securities America to serve on its board of directors. Kropp is owner and partner with Moylan Kropp Retirement Planning in Omaha, Nebraska. She will represent the financial services industry on the board.

— Read the Jan. 21 Recruiting Roundup on ThinkAdvisor.