RayJay Broker Joins Stifel Near Philadelphia, But Most Recruiting Processes Stall

19 Mar    Investing News

A Raymond James broker overseeing about $145 million of client assets shifted to Stifel Financial’s Stifel Nicolaus in Conshohocken, Pa., last week, a rare move in a stalled coronavirus environment.

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Mark Steinman, who was with RayJay for 19 years of his 26-year career, joined Stifel last Tuesday. He said he produced around $850,000 in the previous 12 months, and had been planning to move for over a year.

“I couldn’t have picked a worse time but you have to pick a time,” said Steinman, whose brother-in-law Tom Walrond is the eastern division director of Raymond James’s private client group and its former chief operating officer. “It’s been challenging but I’m getting through it.”

His departure came as companies, individuals and government officials throughout the U.S. were coming to grips with the physical mobility and social contact freezes that the highly contagious virus requires.

Stifel, which hired 30 new advisors in last year’s fourth quarter, had at least two other moves that were scheduled to be completed this week, including one in Texas from a wirehouse, but the St. Louis-based firm has put all moves on hold, according to a manager at the company.

Home-office transition teams cannot travel and advisors are afraid of moving clients amid unprecedented market volatility, said headhunters and sources at Stifel and several other firms. Some speculated that Finra processing of registration transfers also may have slowed as on-site staffing is reduced.

“I’m definitely seeing starting dates move further out in anticipation of the lack of staffing,” said Greg Noble, a Houston-based recruiter. “Plus, it’s pretty difficult to explain to your clients why you are changing firms in the midst of all this market volatility.”

Brokers seeking to persuade former clients to follow them to new firms are also likely to find more obstacles to setting up personal meetings, a process exacerbated if the broker and/or the client are older or in other vulnerable categories for infection.

Edward Jones, where home visits to clients and prospects are a hallmark of its culture, this week banned in-person client meetings as the health crisis escalated.

In another sign of the rapidly changing events entailed by the pandemic, Stifel on Wednesday temporarily shuttered a New York City branch where an employee was diagnosed with Covid-19.

UBS Wealth Management USA yesterday cancelled a national call with field managers to update them on its revived appetite for recruiting, according to a source who was not authorized to speak for the firm. The wirehouse did conduct a call alerting employees to its pandemic intranet ‘site, employee assistance programs, and to cybersecurity challenges and other risks entailed by working at home and other interruptions to the norm, the source said.

In two exceptions to the broker-transition freeze, Rockefeller Capital on Monday hired a Merrill Lynch broker in Los Angeles who produced about $2 million in the previous 12 months, while Wells Fargo Advisors hired a $950,000 team in San Diego led by a producing branch manager.

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