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Pushed by Pandemic, $842M Merrill Team Leaps to Raymond James

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What You Need to Know

  • The team is based in a new Raymond James & Associates office in downtown Salt Lake City.
  • The recruitment win is part of the firm's continued Western U.S. expansion.
  • Working from home, “we felt that it was finally a good time for us to revisit what we want our business to look like,” the team's managing director says.

Raymond James has added a seven-person advisor team from Merrill Lynch, where it managed about $842 million in assets for high-net-worth clients, physicians, retirees and other clients.

The team is based in a new Raymond James & Associates downtown Salt Lake City, Utah, office, led by branch manager Pam McComas, the firm said Wednesday. RJA is the firm’s employee advisor channel.

The latest recruitment win is part of the firm’s continued expansion in the Western U.S., it said.

The team includes veteran financial advisors Steven G. Williams, Kevin Townsend, Steven R. Williams and Pamela Fisher.

The advisors operate as Williams & Townsend Wealth Management Partners of Raymond James. Joining them at Raymond James are practice business manager Kim Smith and senior client service associates Barbara Hillman and Anne Beck.

Merrill Lynch did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday about losing the team to Raymond James.

“When we began working from home due to the pandemic, we felt that it was finally a good time for us to revisit what we want our business to look like and what resources and support we would need to elevate our client service and offerings,” according to Townsend, the team’s managing director.

“We evaluated 10 firms over the course of a year, speaking with founders of some companies and C-suite executives,” he said in the announcement. “It was a very thorough due diligence process along the way, and after introducing our top contenders to our partners and assistants, we all independently and unanimously came back with the same firm at the top of our list: Raymond James.”

“Given the pandemic, we participated in Raymond James’ virtual home office visit, which allowed us to get exposure to the various services that were most important to us,” he said. “From the outstanding technology, to the financial planning capabilities (including a team of dedicated and knowledgeable specialists), to the direct access to senior leaders and experts, we were impressed at each turn.”

The team was also “very drawn to the flexibility, the focus on wealth management as a core business at Raymond James, and the client-first culture,” added Steven G. Williams, the team’s managing director.

RJA is a subsidiary of Raymond James Financial, which now has about 8,300 financial advisors throughout the U.S., Canada and overseas who manage total client assets of  $1.13 trillion.