Fourteen advisors with $1.32 billion in combined client assets have joined Benjamin F. Edwards, boosting the growing regional firm's footprint, the company said.

The latest recruiting sweep stretched from April to October. With three branch openings, Benjamin Edwards now boasts a total of 65 offices nationwide. The St. Louis-based company now oversees more than $21 billion assets with more than 500 employees.

It's not the only regional firm to step up recruiting efforts this year amid an abrupt slowdown in hiring at the wirehouses. In the third quarter, Philadelphia-based Janney Montgomery Scott pulled in about two dozen advisors overseeing about $2.2 billion in client assets. RBC Wealth Management said it hired more advisors in the first six months this year than it did in all of 2016.

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Advisors on the Move: Wirehouses lose 12 teams with over $3.5B
Independent and regional firms have been maintaining strong appeal with new recruits.

The largest contingent of Benjamin Edwards' new hires came from Wells Fargo, which contributed eight out of the 14 advisors.

Ex-Wells Fargo advisors Laney Mitcham and Robert Waggoner opened the new El Dorado, Arkansas, office for Benjamin Edwards. Both concentrate on retirement, estate and wealth planning. They joined Benjamin Edwards in September this year.

Benjamin F. Edwards recruited broker Robert Zimmer for its Baltimore office, which opened in 2013 and now employs five advisors.

Other departures from Wells Fargo include Charles A. Banks, Joseph Hurston, Ryan Pollacci and Richard Moore. They joined Benjamin Edwards’ Hattiesburg, Mississippi, office last month. In addition, Eric Loy and Jason Hall also left the wirehouse and joined offices in Springfield, Illinois, and Morristown, New Jersey, respectively.

Wells Fargo, entangled with fake accounts and data breach issues, has lost a stream of advisors to regional firms. “Advisors are starting to hear complaints from clients about being uneasy with Wells Fargo,” said Rob Blevins, president of recruiting firm Rowlette.

A spokeswoman from Wells Fargo declined to comment.

Advisor Chung Lieu, joining from Hilliard Lyons, opened Benjamin Edwards' new office in Watkinsville, Georgia. Lieu has 19 years of experience and began his career with J.P. Turner.

Tim Fitzgerald and Jeff Green launched the regional firm’s second office in Jonesboro, Arkansas. They transferred from Stephens in August. Both industry veterans, Fitzgerald began his career in 1999 and Green in 1987, according to FINRA BrokerCheck records. The company plans to consolidate the two Jonesboro offices in the future, it said.

A young industry player founded in 2008, Benjamin Edwards has had success attracting wirehouse advisors with high payout, good technology support and a “regional Midwestern firm culture,” said Blevins. Earlier this year, Benjamin Edwards opened three offices ― a Sierra Vista branch in Arizona, a Metairie branch in Louisiana, and a Germantown branch in Tennessee ― by luring away Wells Fargo brokers.

Benjamin Edwards also added Timothy Platt from Morgan Stanley and Linda Dial from Raymond James to its office in Naperville, Illinois. In April, Robert Zimmer left NYLIFE Securities, where he worked for 10 years, to join Benjamin Edwards’ branch in Baltimore.

Yueqi Yang

Yueqi Yang

Yueqi Yang is a reporter for Financial Planning and On Wall Street.