After seven years at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, Richard Ray will be returning to his regional roots as first vice president/investments and portfolio manager in Stifel Nicolaus’ Honolulu office.

Having worked for Bateman Eichler and Dain Rauscher in the 1990s, Ray is now the latest of a series of advisors who have moved from a large wirehouse to a full-service, regional firm in the aftermath of the financial crisis.

“It’s a positive experience to go to a smaller firm that’s not looking at massive deleveraging and has an objective platform for financial planning,” Ray said over the phone from Honolulu.

In his new position, Ray will be part of the solutions program, and will be tying in fee-based discretionary trading of the client’s money with the overall financial planning goals of the household.

“[It’s] hands on portfolio management versus outside managers and mutual funds,” Ray said. “I live and die by my own sword.”

His new role will be similar to his job managing portfolios at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney where he oversaw $77.1 million in client assets.

Ray said that most of his clients will be following him to Stifel, and he hopes to attract new business as well as customers move away from larger firms where fees and commissions can be higher.

“There are quite a few people out there who are looking for an alternative to big firms at this time, simply because they are going through a massive deleveraging process that’s going to last several years,” Ray said. “And I believe the business model is going to be too onerous and clients are feeling the brunt of it with higher fees, higher commission fees and nuisance fees.”