Independent broker-dealers continue to attract breakaway brokers.

LPL Financial, for instance, says it recruited Morgan Stanley advisor Steve Melen, who manages about $100 million of assets in Tiburon, California, near San Francisco.

According to Rich Steinmeier, LPL Financial managing director and divisional president, Business Development, “We are proud to be able to support Steve and his business, and share his commitment to continuous improvement and willingness to give back.”

Melen, who survived stomach cancer, explained in a statement: “I am in a rare position to have come through the experiences that I’ve had, and I believe it helps me connect with my clients and relate to their financial fears, wants and needs.

Also moving to LPL Financial is O&R Partners of Laguna Hills, California; the team includes financial advisors Dave Olivieri, CFP, and Wes Rowlands, who formerly worked with $155 million of assets at Voya Financial.

“We needed a larger broker-dealer to help support our growth. LPL has the size and stability that can address the advancing needs we have to execute on our growth strategy,” according to Rowlands.

Olivieri has been in the business for over 40 years of experience, while Rowlands has worked with Olivieri for seven — after cutting his teeth in finance and consulting on Wall Street.

Raymond James’ News

Meanwhile, Raymond James says it recruited Willis “Andy” Lovell to its employee channel from Merrill Lynch in New Orleans. Lovell and associate Alyssa Klein operate as Lovell Wealth Management, which has previously managed some $177 million in client assets.

“I was drawn to the client-first and advisor-focused culture at Raymond James,” according to Lovell, senior vice president, investments. “The firm has all the resources and capabilities of a large firm, but empowers its advisors to build and run their practices as they choose … .While I looked at other firms, none offered this level of independence or support. I’m excited to be a part of Raymond James.”

Lovell began his career at J.C. Bradford & Co. in 1996 and worked there through 2000, when the firm was bought by UBS. From 2007 on, Lovell was with Merrill Lynch.

“I have known Andy for quite some time,” said Jude Huval, South Louisiana complex manager, in a statement, “and appreciate how thorough he was in his due diligence, and how important it was that he find a firm where he has the ability to run his practice as he wishes.”

Raymond James also welcomed Debbie Smith to Raymond James & Associates in Atlanta. She moved to the employee channel from SunTrust Investment Services, where she managed about $200 million in client assets.

“I was looking for a firm where I could run my practice as I wanted, with more flexibility in how I serve and select my clients,” according to Smith. “Also, I serve a number of women business owners and executives in my practice, so the fact that Raymond James had for over 20 years developed, supported and celebrated a Network for Women Advisors  … was another powerful reason to make the move.”

Smith began her financial services career in 1994 as a mutual fund analyst with Legg Mason, and then was with J.C. Bradford (now UBS), Wells Fargo and SunTrust in Atlanta.  In 2007, she became a private financial advisor at SunTrust.

At the Alex. Brown unit of Raymond James, Joseph M. Hubbell moved to the firm’s Park Avenue, New York, office, from Snowden Lane Partners, where he worked on about $170 million in assets.

“We continue to hear from experienced client advisors that the boutique culture at Alex. Brown and the resources at RaymondJames represent a truly unique and attractive combination,” according to  Haig Ariyan, president of Alex. Brown. “As the firm continues to expand in the Northeast, we’re proud to welcome talented advisors like Joe.”

Hubbell has nearly 35 years of experience in wealth management, private banking and capital markets — including work for Shearson Lehman Brothers, UBS and JP Morgan Securities.

“With Alex. Brown’s rich 200-year history and Raymond James’ resources, the firm has established a strong presence not only in wealth management, but also in capital markets, investment banking and public finance,” he said in a statement “This combination provides deep resources for me to serve my clients’ needs, while maintaining a distinct boutique culture.”

Separately, Steward Partners Global Advisory, an independent partnership associated with Raymond James, said it obtained a minority investment of $50 million from the Cynosure Group, an independent alternatives-asset manager and advisor. Proceeds from Cynosure will be used for further growth and to provide liquidity for Steward partners.

“We’re honored The Cynosure Group chose to invest in our partnership, given their stellar track record of working with companies with a history of success and a robust growth,” said Steward CEO Jim Gold, in a statement. ”The team from Cynosure bring substantial resources and will be represented by two seats on our board of directors, culturally we couldn’t ask for a better fit.”

Since its founding in the fall of 2013, Steward Partners has grown to include  215 employees across 18 offices supporting more than $11 billion in total client assets.

“Steward has been growing at an incredible pace, but what’s impressed us has been the team’s ability to effectively manage that growth over the last few years,” according to Keith Taylor, managing director at The Cynosure Group. “We are thrilled to be partnering with such an exceptional team, and we look forward to supporting the firm in any way we can going forward.”

Other Developments

Integrated Financial Partners, a financial planning and RIA, says Jeremy Commeret, CEO of Hermes Wealth Strategies, is now working with Integrated as a preferred partner. Commeret and his team are located in Visalia, California, and work with $150 million in client assets in partnership with LPL Financial.

Integrated now works with 129 advisors in 37 locations; it was founded in 1996. The firm recently launched a family office

“It was important to me to find a long-term home that would inspire, challenge and most importantly, support me and my clients,” said Commeret, in a statement. “The additional financial, tax and estate planning power that Integrated can provide to my team was unparalleled among all of the potential partners we considered. We love our new home.”