Michael Bridgham (left) , Brian Pick, Terri Fought, Christine Engel & Craig Fought

Like the Sweet 16 teams left in the NCAA basketball tournament, Raymond James recruiters are on a roll.

As the broker-dealer did last week, it just announced that it added a duo from Merrill Lynch with about $350 million in client assets and more than $2 million in yearly fees and commissions, as well as a group formerly with Wells Fargo Advisors that has some $138 million in client assets and over $1 million in annual production.

The team joining Raymond James’ employee channel from Merrill includes Brian Pick, CFP, and Terri Fought, as well as three other associates. They are opening the firm’s new Williamsport, Pennsylvania, office led by Mid-American Complex Director Bill Theis.

Pick and Fought, along with senior investment portfolio analyst Michael Bridgham, chartered retirement planning counselor; advisor Craig Fought; and senior registered client service associate Christine Engel, do business as Pick Fought Wealth Advisors of Raymond James. 

“We are delighted to welcome Brian, Terri, Mike, Craig and Christine to Raymond James and to help us establish the first RJA office in Williamsport,” said Theis, in a statement. “They are an exceptional team with a great reputation, and we believe, as they tap into all the tools and resources we have to support both their practice and their clients, they will be even more successful in growing their business.”

Pick began his financial-services career in 1996 at Merrill Lynch, while Fought cut her teeth in the business at Merrill starting in 1997.

“About three years ago, we started to look for a firm where we would be allowed to manage our client relationships, manage our clients’ portfolios and prepare financial plans that were in our clients’ best interests,” Pick explained in a press release. “There was just no other firm that met all our needs. It really is the premier alternative to Wall Street.”

Analysts speculated recently that Merrill Lynch’s move to end commissions in retirement accounts – an approach it is now reconsidering – could be driving some attrition.

Last week, Raymond James added advisors David Lum and Michael Piazza from the Thundering Herd to its employee channel in Stuart, Florida, with about $220 million in client assets and some $1.7 million in yearly fees and commissions.

Lum began his financial services career in 1981 at E.F. Hutton in New York. He joined Prudential Securities in 1988 and became an advisor; moving to Merrill in 1999. Piazza started work in the business as an intern with Merrill Lynch in 2010. He was a professional baseball player with the Los Angeles Angels and Colorado Rockies, and he became a full-time financial advisor in 2015.

Recruiting From Wells Fargo

Raymond James also says Sam Kim and his associate Scott Mann, a CRPC and chartered retirement plan specialist, are now part of the Ashburn, Virginia, office of Raymond James & Associates.

“We are delighted to welcome Sam and Scott to the Ashburn office of Raymond James,” said Chesapeake Complex Manager Warren Wright, in a statement. “With their combined experience and a genuine commitment to a long-term, client-first approach, they are a great addition to our firm, and we look forward to supporting them as they continue to grow their business.”

“I was very aware of the client-first, advisor-centric culture of Raymond James,” said Kim, “having worked for an independent Raymond James office earlier in my career – so I knew that ‘doing what is best for clients’ was not just a slogan at Raymond James.”

Kim has almost 20 years of industry experience, having begun his career in 1998 with Woodbury Financial Services. He joined First Union Securities (now Wells Fargo) in 2002, and then spent three years with an independent office of Raymond James Financial Services in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

The advisor wanted to be closer to his extended family and relocated to Morthern Virginia in 2007 and joined Banc of America Investment Services. In 2009, he moved to Wells Fargo Advisors and was named to Wells’ Premier Advisors Program in 2016.

Mann began his financial services career in 2008 and worked as a retirement consultant with Lincoln Financial prior to moving to Wells Fargo Advisors in 2013. He transitioned to a financial consultant role on Kim’s team in 2016.

In February, a Wells Fargo team in Columbia, South Carolina, decided to move to Raymond James with about $2.4 million in yearly fees and commissions, as well as $375 million in client assets.

Financial advisor Preston Covington, portfolio analyst Amanda Simconis and associate Lindsey Sisk are now doing business as the Covington Financial Group of Raymond James, according to Dick Ferguson, Southern divisional director of Raymond James & Associates; the group reports to Dan Parker, Columbia complex manager.

“Dan and I are both delighted to welcome Preston, Amanda and Lindsey to our firm and have them open a new office for RJA in Columbia,” Ferguson explained in a statement.

Other News

Raymond James launched a new national ad campaign on broadcast, print and online media about a week ago.

Working with the ad agency Martin Williams, the firm aims for the ads to “tell the stories of individuals and families navigating through life’s moments and milestones, all the while planning for the next goal, certain that their Raymond James advisor is always there to guide them,” it said in a statement.

Two new commercials, part of Raymond James’ “Life Well Planned” series, are airing on 15 major networks including CNN, NBC, MSNBC, CNBC, ABC, FOX Business, the Tennis Channel, the Golf Channel, the Food Network and the Travel Channel.

Radio partners for the campaign are National Public Radio and American Public Media.

Raymond James advisors can customize the TV and print ads for their local markets. French-language versions of the ads are available to the firm’s Canadian affiliates. 

“We believe that clients receive tremendous benefits from working with advisors who have the experience and resources to understand and fulfill their financial needs,” said Chief Marketing Officer Mike White, in a statement. “This campaign attempts to illustrate the true value of having a trusted financial advisor who is always there with personal, sophisticated advice to help plan for life’s most complex financial needs.”