Stifel Recruits Merrill Veteran in Texas as Regional Director
For the second time in a week, Stifel Financial Corp. has announced hiring of a manager from a larger competitor to help it expand in the western U.S.
Robert A. “Bob” Johnson, a 21-year veteran of Merrill Lynch, will join the Stifel, Nicolaus retail brokerage network next month to run a newly established Texas region, the firm said on Thursday. He will be in charge of expanding business at the St. Louis-based firm’s 14 offices in Texas and Oklahoma, and also will work on “ultra-high-net-worth initiatives” in Denver, it said.
Johnson, who had most recently managed the southwest region of Merrill’s Private Banking and Investment Group for multi-millionaire customers, has “retired” from the wirehouse, a Merrill spokeswoman said earlier this week after the company announced a restructuring of PBIG.
“After doing extensive due diligence, it was clear to me that Stifel was the right choice for me to continue my career in a senior leadership role,” Johnson said in a prepared statement. “I wanted to finish my career at a place that reminded me of where I started it.”
Johnson was not available to comment directly because he is on “garden leave” until April, meaning he is still on Merrill’s payroll, said John Pierce, head of private client recruiting at Stifel.
The firm’s Texas region, which includes 58 advisors in 11 Texas and three Oklahoma offices, according to a Stifel website, had been overseen by Kevin Ortmeyer. Stifel hired Ortmeyer from Wells Fargo in June as its central regional director overseeing branches and recruiting in Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas. He continues to manage offices outside of Texas and Oklahoma, Pierce said.
On Wednesday, Stifel recruited James Van Steenhuyse, a 30-plus year UBS/PaineWebber veteran, to expand its office complexes in Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico. Stifel employed 2,244 brokers in 391 offices as of the end of 2017, 36 fewer brokers in five fewer locations than 12 months earlier.
Johnson will report to Stifel Financial Co-President Jim Zemlyak, as do the firm’s other regional directors.
“The markets in Bob’s region present a tremendous opportunity for our firm to grow, and we look forward to having him leverage his extensive industry knowledge to help us tell the Stifel story,” Zemlyak said in a prepared statement.
Johnson began his brokerage career at Merrill in 1983, and worked for about eight years at E.F. Hutton, Shearson Lehman and PaineWebber before rejoining Merrill in 1996, according to his BrokerCheck history.