Recruiting continues in early-'16, despite the choppy markets.

Merrill Lynch Wealth Management says it has recruited nine advisors with more than $1.5 billion in combined client assets, seven of whom joined it from rival Morgan Stanley.

In Jericho, Long Island, John Gatto, Kenneth Gatto, and Matthew Hughes moved to Merrill from Morgan Stanley. The Gatto Hughes Group have manage client assets of about $675 million and had yearly fees and commissions of $5.3 million.

Marc Karstaedt, also previously with Morgan Stanley, joined Merrill in its Rockefeller Center office in Manhattan; he manages assets of some $147 million and had production last year of $812,400.

In Pasadena, California, Scott Uffelman was recruited by Merrill from Morgan Stanley; he has managed $185 million in client assets and had yearly fees and commissions $831,800 in production. Mark French and Kevin Parrill, from UBS, joined in Plano, Texas, with combined client assets of $239 million and production of almost $2 million. And in Boca Raton, Florida, Morgan alums Kirsten Tuzzo and Blaine Minton joined with client assets of $287 million and production of $2.6 million.

(All asset and production figures were provided by Merrill Lynch.)

Raymond James’ News

Raymond James welcomed teams formerly employed by UBS and Morgan Stanley to its traditional employee broker-dealer, Raymond James & Associates.

Hameline Wealth Management of Raymond James includes advisors Joseph Hameline, Jr.; Joseph Hameline, III; and Erikson Hameline, formerly with UBS, in South Burlington, Vermont. At UBS, they managed total assets of $260 million and had annual fees and commissions in excess of $2.3 million.

“We’ve worked together as a team, helping our clients with financial planning for decades,” Joe Hameline III said in a statement.

“We do a lot of work with insurance companies and their employee retirement plans, so moving to a firm focused on financial planning and putting clients first was very important to us,” he explained.

Advisors Kristy McGee and Jennifer Dayoub moved to Raymond James in El Paso, where they now operate as Heritage Premier Financial Services of Raymond James. The team, previously with Morgan Stanley, manage some $110 million in client assets and have nearly $1 million in annual production.

 

Last week, Steward Partners Global Advisory, an independent partnership of reps affiliated with Raymond James, said Michael Sauerborn joined the group from Merrill Lynch. Sauerborn, who managed over $325 million in client assets and made some $1.35 million in annual fees and commissions at Merrill, moved to Steward’s flagship New York office one month after Eric Beiley came on board from Morgan Stanley.

“We continue to attract top caliber advisors like Michael to all our Steward Partners offices,” said Steward CEO Jim Gold, in a statement.

“I was impressed with the platform Raymond James and Steward Partners makes available for me and my clients,” Sauerborn explained in a press release. “I needed a firm that would not only allow me to transition my practice, but also help me grow with the rapidly changing environment that exists in the global investment arena … Everything surrounding the Steward Partners’ model just felt right.”

Other Recruits

Cetera Advisor Networks says it recently recruited the $200-million advisory practice Empire Asset Management Group. Empire will work with Harvey Bowks, who heads up a super office of supervisory jurisdiction for Cetera. Based in Albany, New York, Empire includes seven professionals and is led by Brad Konopaske, founder and president, and Paul Paska, chief branding officer.

In a statement, Jeff Nash, president of third-party recruiter Nash Consulting Group, a strategic consultancy to independent financial advisors, said, “This is one out of a number of narratives emerging that show the broker-dealers and recruiters who have been predicting doom for the Cetera network are dead wrong … It’s tougher to predict the future for the more recently acquired firms within the Cetera network, but the original core four Cetera-branded firms will probably surprise everybody with the strength of their recruiting and retention for 2016.”

Meanwhile, Focus Financial Group announced that partner firm Merriman Wealth Management in Seattle has completed a transaction in which boutique RIA Summit Capital Management, also based in Seattle, has become part of Merriman.

Founded in 1996, Summit Capital had 10 employees serving clients across the Pacific Northwest. Members of Summit Capital’s staff and leadership team will continue to support their clients as part of the Merriman team.

This is Merriman’s first strategic transaction since joining the Focus partnership in December 2012, making Merriman one of the largest wealth management firms in the Pacific Northwest. The deal also expands Merriman’s geographic presence, adding Summit Capital’s Spokane office to Merriman’s existing locations in Seattle and Portland.

In another merger, independent RIA Retirement Advisors of America (RAA) and Advisor Financial Services say they are merging. With more than $2.3 billion in assets under management, the combination should result in RAA being one of the largest financial services firm focused on serving the unique needs of the airline community.

As a result of the merger, Advisor Financial, based outside of Atlanta, will operate under the Retirement Advisors of America brand. The merger is part of a strategic growth initiative that began in 2015 when RAA announced a partnership with HBC Investments.

Read the April 14 Recruiting Roundup at ThinkAdvisor.