Janney Montgomery Scott has lured Chris Willett, an industry veteran with over three decades of experience, from Morgan Keegan. He will be executive vice president in the firm’s Atlanta office.

Willett is the 22nd financial advisor Janney has recruited so far in 2012 as the firm looks to expand its current locations.

“We’re sticking to our game plan of adding to existing branches and also building new brwianches within our existing footprint. We’re not looking to expand our geographic footprint. So Chris fit the bill that way,” Jerry Lombard, president of Janney’s private client group, said in a phone interview.

Willett’s origins at Morgan Keegan – now a part of Raymond James – were somewhat unusual compared to other new hires, according to Lombard.  Raymond James closed its acquisition earlier this year of the Morgan Keegan brokerage unit from Regions Financial in a transaction totaling about $1.2 billion in cash.

“Most of our FA’s have come from the wirehouse channels, but Chris was a bit of an exception that way coming out of the Morgan Keegan part of Raymond James,” he said.

According to Lombard, Willett looks forward to reuniting with some former colleagues. Previously in his career, Willett worked at Legg Mason, and a number of executives had transferred from there to Janney when Legg Mason merged with Smith Barney in 2005.

“It was a sort of a way to go back home,” Lombard remarked.

A multimillion dollar producer, Willett brings over $200 million in AUM from Morgan Keegan, which he will continue to oversee at Janney. His team of account executives, Patricia Fleury, Steve Edwards and Geoffrey Deller, has followed him to Janney and will assist with that oversight.

Similar to Willard’s hiring, Lombard expects that Janney’s future growth and expansion will be focused on the South.

“I think you will see more offices open south of Mason-Dixon Line than not as we selectively go into new markets,” he said. “If we’re going to open four or five branches, maybe three or four branches will be in the South and one in the North or Ohio.”

Mason Braswell writes for On Wall Street.