Hilliard Lyons Team Joins Stifel Ahead of Baird Acquisition
Baird Financial Group’s Robert W. Baird has been offering retention bonuses to J.J.B. Hilliard, W.L. Lyons’ brokers who produce at least $400,000 annually, but the deal wasn’t enough to keep a father-and-son team in Memphis from bolting.
Milwaukee-based Baird last week announced plans to buy Louisville, Ky-based Hilliard, with hopes of adding its regional force of about 380 brokers to its Midwest-focused group of 890. But the deal was too late, and too little, for John W. “Jack” Mayer and his son, Robert.
“By the time we found out about the Baird acquisition last week, our minds were made up,” the younger Mayer said in an interview. His father, who has been a broker for 40 years at Morgan Keegan and Hilliard, Lyons, added that many of his former colleagues have been disappointed with Baird’s retention offers.
The Mayers, who said they oversaw $154 million in client assets at Hilliard and generated about $760,000 in revenue over the past 12 months, joined Stifel on Tuesday. They declined to be specific about the Baird offers or on their recruitment deal from Stifel.
Two sources, including a broker at Hilliard, said that Baird’s stock-and-cash deal ranges from 25% to 75% of revenue produced in the previous 12 months. Brokers must have at least $400,000 to qualify, they said.
St. Louis-based Stifel has been offering recruits at the $400,000 level as much as 120% of their trailing-12 production if they hit back-end production and account transfer targets, with the amount scaling up to 225% for those with $2 million.
A spokeswoman for Baird did not return a call for specifics of its retention offer, and a Hilliard spokesman declined to comment.
The Mayers said they decided on Stifel after a search of about six months. They were influenced, in part, by Robert’s gym friendship with Phillip Rogers, who has managed Stifel’s Memphis office since joining the firm from Wunderlich Securities in October 2017.
Jack Mayer began his brokerage career in 1979 at Morgan Keegan in Memphis, and joined Hilliard Lyons in September 2008, according to his BrokerCheck record. Robert joined him at Morgan Keegan, which is now owned by Raymond James Financial, in 2006 and moved with his father to Hilliard in 2008, according to BrokerCheck.
The elder Mayer has four customer complaints, including three alleging unsuitable mutual fund shares that were settled between 2008 and 2010. Another claim filed in 2012 alleging unauthorized trading was denied. His son has no disclosures on his regulatory record.