Baird announced Thursday it hired Bill Welsh to head its San Francisco wealth management office. With the addition of Welsh, the firm has boosted its ranks by 36 advisors and branch managers since the beginning of the year.

Welsh, who has over 25 years of industry experience, joins from Wells Fargo where he was a regional sales manager for the last three years. He will oversee the branch as a non-producing manager. Prior to Wells Fargo, he managed Bear Stearns & Co.’s private client services office in San Francisco.

Welsh also spent 20 years with Lehman Brothers where he held a number of senior management roles in New York and San Francisco.

“Under Bill’s leadership, we will continue our strategic expansion, bringing our broad array of services closer to current and prospective clients and creating additional opportunities for talented professionals interested in joining Baird,” Michael J. Schroeder, the president of Baird Private Wealth Management, said in a press release.

With the Welsh hire, Baird is continuing its expansion in northern California. The has operates six offices in the region, two equity and fixed income capital markets offices in San Francisco, an investment banking office in Palo Alto, and three wealth management offices in the greater Sacramento area, the company said. 

Since 2007, Baird has added a number of senior level associates in the Bay Area including a new co-head of equity capital markets, equity research associates, and equity traders.

The opportunities Baird is seeing comes from the flood of advisors, who, prior to the economic crisis, would never have thought about leaving the wirehouses where they worked, but as a result of the meltdown are looking for a fresh start.

Baird’s private wealth management business continues to grow nationally. It added more than 100 financial advisors to its private wealth management group in 2009. Since the beginning of last year, Baird has opened or announced plans to open wealth management offices in several new markets. New office locations include Winston-Salem, Denver, Sacramento, Calif., Lynchburg, Baltimore and Easton, Md. It announced plans to open offices in Charlotte, Raleigh, N.C., Portland, Ore., and St. Paul, Minn.

Baird Financial Advisors managed and oversaw more than $58 billion in client assets as of March 31, 2010.