Industry Moves

Stifel Loses Its Recruitment Chief

Stifel’s head of recruitment, John Pierce, has moved on from that role. The circumstances of his departure remain unclear.

“I can confirm that he has left the firm, but I cannot provide any details beyond that,” a Stifel spokesman confirmed to FA-IQ via email.

Replying to FA-IQ’s query, Pierce says he’s on garden leave until mid-May. He didn’t share more details.

Pierce joined Stifel in January 2016, according to his LinkedIn profile, which now lists him as self-employed.

He was first registered in 1993 with Merrill Lynch, where he spent 13 years until 2006, according to his BrokerCheck record. He was also previously registered with BPU Investment Management, Ameriprise Financial and Glen Eagle Advisors.

Pierce’s departure comes at a time when Stifel is stepping up efforts to hire advisors, especially larger producers breaking away from wirehouses. Stifel didn’t comment on Pierce’s potential successor.

The St. Louis-based broker-dealer slowed down recruiting in the immediate aftermath of the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule but has recently been positioning itself as a “destination” for wirehouse breakaways, Pierce previously told FA-IQ.

Stifel’s advisor ranks grew 3%, 2,222 in 2019, from the prior year, despite excluding FAs with production below $300,000 from the calculation. The firm is also relying on robust advisor recruitment and leveraging its bank for wealth management client lending for growth.

Pierce previously told FA-IQ that compensation and service cuts at wirehouses and the June 30 compliance deadline for Regulation Best Interest are big recruitment opportunities for Stifel in 2020.


Merrill Lynch FAs Jump to Stifel, Ameriprise

Stifel Financial and Ameriprise Financial say they’ve poached advisors from Merrill Lynch.

Lamar Morris has joined Stifel’s Sugar Land, Texas private client group office, the company says in a press release. He previously managed $149 million at Merrill Lynch, according to Stifel. Morris began his financial services industry career at Merrill Lynch 22 years ago, according to his BrokerCheck profile.

“Like our team, Lamar came to Stifel after careful consideration of what he desired in terms of culture,” Bart Reese, the office’s branch manager, says in the press release. “I am confident Lamar will successfully transition the majority of his clients here just as we did.”

Meanwhile, the Barbaro, DeMartino & Tucker Group has joined Ameriprise’s employee channel in Red Bank, N.J., according to a press release from Ameriprise.

The team includes advisors Gregory Barbaro, who’s been in the industry for 16 years, Lou DeMartino, an eight-year veteran of the industry, and James Tucker, who joined the industry five years ago, as well as client service associate Janet Iglesias, Ameriprise says. They previously managed around $194 million at Merrill Lynch, according to the press release.

“We wanted to work for a firm that embraces and encourages growth in a way that is consistent with our team’s values, and we found that in Ameriprise,” Tucker says in the press release.

Stifel added two more Merrill Lynch advisors two weeks ago, when it also nabbed an advisor from Ameriprise. Stifel had 2,222 advisors at the end of 2019, an increase of 3.3% over the prior year.

Ameriprise, meanwhile, picked up a team of advisors from Summit Brokerage Services earlier this month. In January, Ameriprise added advisors from LPL Financial and MML Investor Services but also lost advisors to LPL and Pallas Capital Advisors. Ameriprise’s advisor ranks stood at 9,871 at the end of 2019, down from 9,931 at the end of 2018.


FA Returns to LPL After 16 Years in Another Platform

LPL Financial says financial advisor Ed Gormley has returned to its network.

Gormley served around $140 million in brokerage, advisory and retirement plan assets at Securities Service Network, according to LPL. He was registered with SSN from September 2004 to early February 2020, according to his SEC record.

He founded Susquehanna Financial Advisors in 1994 after beginning his career with international accounting firms where he specialized in executive financial planning and taxes, LPL says. His practice currently serves about 250 families, mostly high-net-worth retirees, the firm adds.

Financial consultant Melissa Puija, senior tax specialist Craig Foer and client relations specialist Laurie Andrus are also part of the Mechanicsburg, Pa.-based team.

“I’m developing a legacy staff that will continue to deliver asset management, high level services and strategic financial planning for our clients for generations to come,” Gormley says in a statement.

LPL says Gormley was affiliated with the firm at the start of his independent advisory career.

“We want to control our destiny as a firm and continue to offer high quality, personalized services. We believe LPL is in a good position to thrive in the industry consolidation,” Gormley says in a statement. “Also, LPL’s level of innovative technology and advanced estate planning capabilities will complement and enhance our work supporting high-net-worth clients.”

Gormley says his long-term goals for the business include potential mergers or acquisitions and LPL’s network of more than 16,000 advisors “offers a pipeline of opportunities.”


Carson Wealth Adds Three Merged Wealth Mgmt Practices

Carson Wealth says it’s added a newly-merged trio of boutique financial advice practices in the Southeast.

The group includes Cadwell Wealth in Florida and Sovereign Investment Group and Fulcrum Advisors in North Carolina, according to a press release from Carson Wealth. The three firms oversee $182 million in combined assets, Carson Wealth says.

As with other advisors affiliating with Carson Wealth, Cadwell Wealth’s Scott Cadwell, Sovereign Investment’s Ted DeLisi and Fulcrum’s Matthew Gomoll and Travis Laska will keep active majority ownership of their practices and will remain in charge of all business decisions and operations, Carson Wealth says.

The companies didn’t disclose the financial terms of the deal.

Omaha, Neb.-based Carson — which includes Carson Wealth, Carson Coaching and Carson Partners — has brought on several advisor practices during the past year.

Carson Wealth added at least five firms with more than $500 million since the beginning of 2019. Carson Partners, meanwhile, added a $350 million practice in November, a $180 million team in August and a $200 million practice in July, as well as at least five more practices earlier in the year.


Wedbush Securities Taps Ex-JPMorgan Exec to Head LA Area

Wedbush Securities says it’s hired a former JPMorgan executive as its new regional executive.

Frank Epinger joins the firm as managing director and regional executive of the Los Angeles area, according to a press release from Wedbush.

Along with Frank Story, the regional director for the New York and Tri State area, Epinger with report to Don Gorsch, Wedbush’s senior vice president and head of private wealth management branch network, the company says.

Epinger previously worked at JPMorgan from March 2015 to November 2019, according to his LinkedIn profile. In that role, he oversaw more than 65 financial advisors in Southern California and $11 billion in assets, Wedbush says.

Epinger had also held executive roles at UBS, Morgan Stanley and HighTower, according to LinkedIn.

“It’s a great time to be joining Wedbush, especially as the firm continues to expand its wealth management footprint,” Epinger says in the press release.

Founded in 1955, Los Angeles-based Wedbush now has 100 registered offices and close to 900 employees offering securities brokerage, wealth management and investment banking services, the company says.

In November, Wedbush lost an experienced financial advisor who managed around $60 million to a firm associated with Kestra Financial.