Southwest Securities has hired former Merrill Lynch advisor J.C. Graham to be a senior vice president at Southwest's Granite Park office in Plano, Texas.

"As we continue to expand our Private Client Group business, we are pleased to welcome a financial professional of Mr. Graham's experience and reputation," Larry G. Tate, Southwest Securities' director of retail, said. "He is an important addition to the strong team of advisers we have built throughout the Southwest."

Graham’s addition comes as the firm looks to build up its numbers following a drop off of about 18 advisors over the last year. Tate said in a phone interview that Southwest plans to add another 17 advisors by year-end with a focus on major markets in Texas and California.

According to Tate, it was the firm’s independent culture and the lack of proprietary products that eventually lured Graham over.

“The timing was right our vice manager had a few conversations with him and we felt he was a good fit and he felt the same,” Tate said in a phone interview.

Although Southwest does not disclose assets under management, Tate said that Graham, who has 11 years of experience as an advisor, was “well into the President’s Club level,” which starts at $525,000, and that he had a “substantial” return on assets.

The firm has 18 branches in 14 major markets in California, Texas and Oklahoma, as well as four branches in smaller markets.