Father-and-son Team Moves to Ameriprise After One-year Stint at Stifel

26 Nov    Investing News

Moving a practice is often costly, laborious and anxiety-producing, but it didn’t stop a father-son team in Phoenix from leaving Stifel, Nicolaus after only one year out of apparent pique over its refusal to let them hire an adviser.

Peter C. Smith, who was managing $128 million in client assets and generating about $550,000 in annual fees and commissions over the past 12 months, joined Ameriprise’s employee channel on November 8 with his son Bennett. They had arrived at Stifel from Moors & Cabot in November 2018.

Peter, who spent the first decade of his career in the 1990s at Rauscher Pierce Refsnes and successor firms, wanted to work with Jan Phil Oelze, Jr., a friend who has been a broker since 1987, according to Bennett. He said Stifel was reluctant to hire Oelze, who joined Ameriprise on the same day as the Smiths.

The elder Smith could not be reached for comment, and Oelze, a chartered financial analyst, said he moved because Amerirpise offered “a more diversified platform.” He denied that he tried to join Stifel, and a spokesman at the St. Louis-based firm declined to comment.

“The three advisors have known one another for quite some time through their work with a local charity,” said an Ameriprise spokeswoman. “They wanted to form a practice together and had the opportunity to do so at Ameriprise.”

On a combined basis, the elder Smith and Oelze were overseeing $179 million of client assets at their former firms, she said. Bennett Smith said he did not have a direct book of assets.

Minneapolis, Minnesota-based Ameriprise ended its third quarter with 9,930 brokers, down a net 3 from 12 months earlier. Its brokerage count declined by 21 in the most recent quarter, as the 96 new brokers it hired was offset by retirees and others who left. The firm’s retention rate of advisers fell in the July-September period to 92.8% at its independent channel and to 91.8% in its smaller employee channel, their lowest levels in at least four quarters.

Stifel ended the third quarter with almost 2,200 brokers, up a net 44, or 2%, from Sept. 30, 2018. It hired 96 in the most recent quarter and had only two “regrettable” departures in the July-September quarter, Chief Executive Ron Kruszewski said on an earnings call in October.

After his decade at Rauscher, Peter Smith worked for almost eight at UBS Wealth Management in Phoenix and a decade in the city at Moors & Cabot, according to his BrokerCheck history. His son became a broker in March 2018, joining his father at Moors & Cabot and following him to Stifel and Ameriprise.

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