Raymond James announced Wednesday it hired Claire Friedrichs as first vice president of investments.

The $412 billion AUM broker-dealer, in an effort to boost its network of women advisors, snagged Friedrichs from her eight-year tenure at Merrill Lynch.

“I am pleased to welcome Claire to Raymond James,” Jude Huval, complex manager for the traditional employee division of Raymond James Financial, Inc., said in a statement. “One of our goals has been to recruit more women advisors to join our network of talented female advisors. Claire comes to Raymond James with years of experience, but more important, a true dedication to doing what is best for her clients.”

A 20-year industry veteran, Friedrichs managed around $80 million in client assets at Merrill, producing $850,000 in annual fees and commissions. Previously, she built a business at Smith Barney based upon educating women in financial matters, after having become widowed in 1993 and finding the desire to help other women in similar circumstances. She began her career at Howard, Weil, Labouisse and Friedrichs as a research liaison.

“When I was looking for a new firm, I visited Raymond James and found that I began writing down the same words after every meeting – logic and flexibility,” said Friedrichs. “During the Morgan Keegan merger, I observed how the firm was so thoughtful and open about adjusting processes and enhancing technology to better satisfy the needs of both advisors and their clients. What also attracted me is the firm’s understanding that the advisor is the liaison to the client. Knowing that, the firm places a big emphasis on advisor support.”

Joining Friedrichs at Raymond James is financial advisor Andre Dugas, who has worked with her for more than 12 years. He is also coming from Merrill Lynch.