Merrill, UBS, Wells Lose Brokers to LPL, Raymond James and Ameriprise
The stop-and-start train carrying wirehouse veterans to independent and regional firms continues to operate.
In two previously unreported moves, a three-broker team in Omaha that last year produced around $2.4 million of fees and commissions left Wells Fargo Advisors for Raymond James Associates while a Merrill Lynch broker in San Diego generating $850,000 affiliated with LPL Financial.
The Nebraska team of senior advisors Julie Kramer and Mark Heeney, together with advisor Bobby Lee O’Brian and two associates, made their move in mid-April, Heeney confirmed. The team, who had been with Wells’ private client group channel of employee-brokers for almost nine years, stuck with the employee model at Raymond James although the firm also runs an independent broker channel, he said.
Heeney, who began his brokerage career 37 years ago, has worked with Kramer at Morgan Stanley, Citigroup and Fortis Investors since 1991. He said he could not immediately comment on the team’s decision to leave the wirehouse world because of meetings with clients.
In San Diego, Diaz left Merrill’s branch on Friday after a decade at the wirehouse and at its Banc of America Investment Services predecessor.
Diaz, who began his brokerage career at Morgan Stanley in October 2004, worked with clients who had about $124 million of assets at Merrill, according to a source familiar with his book. In an e-mail, the broker declined to comment on his reasons for choosing LPL and the independent model, and did confirm or deny the size of his book.
In other moves, Ameriprise Financial said Tuesday that veteran advisors Regina Ruth Onkst and Jim Onkst, along with business manager Stacey Stivers, joined its independent “franchise” channel on March 9 from UBS Financial Services. The team, which is based in Gainesville, Florida, was overseeing about $113 million of client assets at UBS, according to Ameriprise.
“I wanted access to a strong suite of financial planning tools, as well as the freedom to select my own staff and run my business in a way that allows me to provide a great customer experience,” Ruth Onkst said in a prepared statement.
The broker, whose eight-year stint at UBS was her longest in a 33-year career that has included stops at Shearson Lehman Hutton, PaineWebber, Prudential, Merrill Lynch, A.G. Edwards and Morgan Stanley, did not respond to several requests for comment on her reasons for leaving UBS and for going independent. Jim Onkst, who works out of Louisville, Ky., and has been a broker since 2002 at A.G. Edwards, Morgan Stanley and UBS, according to his BrokerCheck history, also did not return calls for comment.
In another wirehouse move, independent firm Steward Partners confirmed that it hired the Manchester, New Hampshire team of Steven Spain and Wayne McCormick from Wells Fargo’s private client group on May 3. The pair were managing about $175 million of client assets, according to Steward, which is affiliated with Raymond James’ independent channel.
Spain, who spent the first 25 years of his 39-year brokerage career at Kidder, Peabody and Prudential Securities, has been with Wells since 2003, according to his BrokerCheck history. McCormick began his brokerage career in the summer of 2010 at Wells Fargo, according to the Finra database.