Raymond James recruited a Morgan Stanley team that managed more than $500 million in client assets for its Alex. Brown unit, a spokeswoman said.

The group was drawn to Raymond James' boutique unit in part because of the marketing and research available to advisers, says the team's leader Todd Kissel.

"I am trying to find the best ideas that match up to my clients. I don't run an assembly line," says Kissel, who adds that he likes to do deep analyses for his clients.

The group includes advisor Joshua Pasahow, investment portfolio associate Ida Ng, and senior client service associate John Rivera. They joined Alex. Brown's Park Avenue office in New York, making them the first new hires for that branch. The group reports to John Sutton, New York regional executive for Alex. Brown, which primarily serves wealthy clients and institutions.

Raymond James' newest hires for its Alex. Brown division come from Morgan Stanley and include Joshua Pasahow, left, Ida Ng, Todd Kissel and John Rivera.

The team operates as East Coast Advisors and generated more than $3.3 million in annual fees and commissions while at their previous firm, according to Raymond James.

A Morgan Stanley spokeswoman declined to comment on the group's departure.

Kissel, 54, says they had considered making a move for more than a year, and interviewed several options before settling on Alex. Brown and Raymond James.

"I took my time and I did my homework," Kissel says.

Sutton says Kissel's thoroughness came across during their first encounter.

"I think our first meeting ran three hours. Usually, it's 45 minutes," Sutton says, laughing.

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Where the recruiting momentum is shifting now
This year has seen more moves, bigger moves and more expensive moves.

Raymond James acquired the Alex. Brown business from Deutsche Bank last year, resurrecting the unit's original name (Deutsche Bank had acquired it over a decade ago, ending its nearly 200-year run as an independent investment bank).

The St. Petersburg, Florida-based firm has been recruiting aggressively, and its headcount recently hit 7,285 advisers. Now, Raymond James is looking to further that success on the West Coast and Northeast, and Alex. Brown will likely play a role in helping attract high-net-worth advisers.

Sutton says the pipeline is strong across the country, and the Kissel's hiring "will help generate additional buzz" in his area.

Kissel had been with Morgan Stanley since 2008, according to FINRA BrokerCheck records. He has past experience at UBS and Merrill Lynch.
His fellow advisor Pasahow joined him at Morgan Stanley about nine years ago.

Kissel says the transition has been going smoothly since they made the switch about last month. There have been no bumps in the road, but he doesn't plan on repeating it.

"I took my time with this decision. I am not moving again," Kissel says.