Steward Hires Ex-Morgan Stanley Divisional Manager Kentfield
Steward Partners, a Washington D.C.-based firm founded by former Smith Barney managers, has hired a former Smith Barney senior leader, Douglas Kentfield, to run its 100-advisor force.
“I spent 28 years in the wirehouse model and it was time to do something different,” said Kentfield, who started his brokerage career as a financial advisor at E.F. Hutton in 1986 and became a branch manager in 1989. “It was the right opportunity in terms of capitalizing on my experience and my relationships out in the field. Wirehouses have a good business model, but they’re big organizations, and advisors can get lost.”
Kentfield had been head of Morgan Stanley’s western division when he left the firm as a result of a reorganization. Now based in New York, he will oversee the 21 offices of Steward, which uses Raymond James Financial as its broker-dealer.
Steward in March was recapitalized with $50 million from private equity firm The Cynosure Group.
It has added 18 advisors in 2019, and aims to recruit as many as 50 in 2020 under Kentfield’s direction, said Steward Chief Executive James Gold.
Kentfield had most recently been working with Eaton Vance Corp. to distribute its NextShares exchange-traded funds on wirehouse platforms.
At Steward, he will reunite with former Smith Barney Chief Executive Charles D. Johnston, who joined the independent broker and registered investment advisory firm in August 2018. Kentfield has known Gold since he hired him in 1995 as a trainee in Smith Barney’s Jericho, New York, branch on Long Island.
Kentfield, who received equity in Steward, will report to Gold and have direct oversight of its New England, New York, MidAtlantic and Southern regional directors. They collectively oversee 21 offices.
Kentfield, who remained with Hutton as it evolved into Shearson Lehman Brothers and, ultimately, Smith Barney and Morgan Stanley, is not the first executive with long wirehouse experience to have shifted to an independent firm.
Doug Ketterer, who left Morgan Stanley after 21 years that included a stint as head of its farflung brokerage force, last year co-founded independent broker-dealer roll-up Atria Wealth Solutions. Former Smith Barney executives Todd Thomson and Shirl Penney founded RIA service provider Dynasty Financial Partners in 2010. And Jamie Price, the former head of UBS Wealth Management Americas, now oversees the four former independent AIG-owned broker-dealer that has been rebranded as Advisor Group.