The new hires represent only a small fraction of the more than 250 financial planners that Baird has brought on since 2009 and compliment the approximately 15 offices the company has opened in the same period. According to John Mabee, vice chairman of Baird Private Wealth Management, the firm is not looking to stop now.
“I think it probably will continue,” Mabee said in a phone interview. “Over the last few years a lot of good financial advisors at some other firms have become pretty disenchanted with their current firms and are looking at alternatives. And as more hear the Baird story, we’re getting more attention.”
A veteran of 25-plus years, Patty Estopinal brings $175 million from Morgan Stanley Smith Barney and will be a director of the Roseville, Calif. office.
Matthew Fields and Tonya Nichols, who comprised the Field Nichols Group with Merrill Lynch, will become vice presidents of Baird’s Portland, Ore., branch and oversee $170 million in assets. Combined, the two have 32 years of experience.
A 13-year veteran previously at Spectrum, Jayson Bales manages $65 million in AUM and joins as senior vice president at the Dallas, Texas, branch.
In Fort Worth, Texas, Steve Phillips, who has 10 years of experience and oversaw $50 million at JP Morgan, will take over as vice president.
While Baird does not recruit from any specific types of firms, their status as a regional firm has helped draw a good portion from large wirehouses, according to Mabee. After many regional firms were bought out by larger firms, some planners wanted to return to their roots.
“They realized after a while that things really are different between where they were and who they got bought by,” Mabee said. “And we’ve had a lot of success with those people.”
An additional factor, and something that Mabee considers a key part of the “Baird story,” is that the associates own the firm, so it’s their money at risk. That makes the firm more conservative firm in terms of hiring and financial decisions, Mabee said.
“Whenever I talk to a recruit, I say if you don’t pick up anything else I’m talking about, please keep in mind that we’re employee owned and privately held,” Mabee noted.
Although Baird does not claim to hire from particular firms, they do admit to targeting female advisors. Two in this latest class, including the biggest producer in terms of AUM, are women, and the company estimates that female advisors comprise approximately 15% of their recruits since 2009.
“We have a number of projects in place to help our female advisors including a women’s associate resource group, Baird Network of Women Financial Advisors, and we sponsor female advisors to go to summits,” Mabee explained.
Baird’s goal is to have female advisors comprise 15% to 17% of their total population of financial advisors by 2015.
Founded in 1919, Baird is based in Milwaukee, Wis., and oversees approximately $94 billion in client assets.