Two Merrill Lynch advisors managing $270 million in assets have left the wirehouse to join independent firm Snowden Lane Partners.

Advisors Jesse Clinton and Phillip Pedrena joined Snowden today as partners and managing directors in New York, where the firm is headquartered. This is the second wirehouse team to join Snowden recently. Three weeks ago, a UBS team managing $400 million in assets joined Snowden in Baltimore. Greg Franks, president of Snowden, says that this continues the recruiting momentum of the firm, which he describes as a steady, unhurried process to build up Snowden.

"We're building a true company. We mean it. I hope my children work here someday. I would love, 20 years from today, to have the firm still growing," says Franks.

Franks anticipates more advisors to join later this year and in early 2015. Some of these recruits may come from the wirehouses, and Franks expects that the movement of wirehouse advisors to independent firms like Snowden will continue.

"I was at Merrill Lynch for 28 years. It was a wonderful place to be, but it changed and particularly so after the merger," Franks says. "It's so much more complicated to serve your clients in these massive organizations. And there's so much more pressure to generate profit."

Clinton says he and his partner never considered moving to another wirehouse.

"We would have had the same issue at any other wirehouse. And I think this model is the wave of the future and I want to be ahead of that," says Clinton, adding that he feels his clients will be better served at an RIA.

Clinton had been with Merrill Lynch for a decade, according to FINRA records. Pedrena joined Merrill in 2008. Prior to that, he was with Morgan Stanley for a year.

Clinton also notes that the playing field between the channels has leveled, making it easier and more justified to switch channels.

"I was with Merrill Lynch for 10 years. When I first started in the business, I looked at the independents and they couldn't do what the big firms could do. That was 10 years ago. Today they have the same services, same products," he says.

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