Two advisors who generated a combined $1.75 million in annual production left Oppenheimer & Co. to join Steward Partners, an independent firm affiliated with Raymond James, a spokesman said.

Together, the advisors managed $175 million in client assets, said the spokesman in an On Wall Street exclusive report. Since its founding two years ago, Steward Partners has recruited advisors managing more than $2 billion in client assets, according to the firm.

CEO Jim Gold expects to recruit more in the firm's target growth region, the Northeast, though he says they would consider unique opportunities outside it. "I would tell you that the volume of activity and that the appetite and interest is incredible," he says.

Gold adds, "We want to have measured expansion, and that's by bringing in the right people. We have turned down almost as much revenue as we have hired"

Former Oppenheimer advisors Gary Walker and Christopher Nee joined Steward Partners in Portsmouth, N.H. They made the move separately.

Walker says he switched to Steward Partners in part because of the partnership with Raymond James Financial Services, the firm's independent broker-dealer.

"That was something that was attractive me. Those resources really steered me towards Raymond James and Steward Partners," Walker says.

Nee seconds that sentiment, adding that a visit to Raymond James' headquarters in St. Petersburg, Fla., helped seal the deal.

"When I went down to Raymond James, I was overwhelmed with the resources and the support I would have relative to where I was," he says.

Nee had been with Oppenehimer since 2008, according to FINRA BrokerCheck records. Walker joined Oppenheimer in 2012. They both had prior experience working at Morgan Stanley.

'BREAKAWAY MANAGERS'

Steward Partners was founded by several former wirehouse managers. Gold and Chairman Mike Maurer previously served as complex managers at Morgan Stanley.

Gold says that the firm has been building a platform to help other wirehouse branch and complex managers breakaway to start their own firms.

"People have talked about breakaway brokers, but I think people will soon talk about breakaway managers," Gold says.

He says Steward Partners will provide support to those interested in building something similar. Gold says that the first one may launch next year. In a sense, it'll be more like a clone than a franchise.

"Steward was formed over a 9-month period of time. Now we have proof of concept. So we can go out and talk to a branch manager who says I'm frustrated where I am and I'd really like to go out and do something different."

Read more: