Stifel Hires $130-Million-Asset Merrill Broker in Texas
Stifel Financial again reached into Merrill Lynch to bulk up brokerage ranks, hiring a Frisco, Texas-based broker who was managing $130 million in client assets.Steve Lipp, who was with Merrill for eight years of his 19 year career, left on Thanksgiving Eve to help open a Frisco office for Stifel. He will be temporarily based in an existing Stifel office in Dallas, the firm said in a release.
Reached by phone, Lipp said he picked Stifel because of its culture, which he believes is more suitable for the large family clients he typically serves. He also cited access to outside research that he said is available at Stifel.
St. Louis-based Stifel has sharpened its recruiting appetite this year, with Merrill a prime target. Early last month it hired a three-broker Thundering Herd team overseeing $497 million of client assets in Southbury, Connecticut. A week previously, Merrill teams in New York and Texas, each managing over $200 million of customer assets, joined. And in October Stifel hired advisors on its St. Louis home turf who it said produced about $5.5 million of annual revenue in the previous 12 months.
Stifel employs about 2,200 brokers.
Merrill froze its recruiting of experienced brokers about two years ago. It stopped breaking out its Merrill Lynch Wealth advisor count from the overall customer-facing advisors throughout Bank of America, its parent, but as of June 30 its Merrill Wealth force had decline to 14,690—off 130 from 12 months earlier.
The wirehouse is focusing on training new brokers and seeding more of its experienced teams with lower-paid advisors at the bank’s Merrill Edge discount unit.
A Merrill spokesman did not respond to a request for comment on Lipp’s departure. The broker began his registered rep career in 1998 at Morgan Stanley, and also worked at Banc of America Investment Services, U.S. Banc Corp Investments and Ameriprise Financial Services before joining Merrill in 2011.
Stifel added a net 44 brokers in the past year, including 96 in the most recent quarter. Departures primarily reflected retirees, with only two leaving who firm CEO Ron Kruszewski termed last month in an earnings call as “regrettable departures.”