To boost AUM and profits, broker-dealers are going in a new direction: West.

Firms like Raymond James, Baird and Wells Fargo are pursuing expansions in Seattle, Silicon Valley and Southern California, where many broker dealers historically have had little or no presence. The firms are being pulled by the allure of new wealth creation in the region, promising rich rewards for those willing to put forth the additional effort. "Wealth management firms are going to gravitate where the money is," notes Bill Butterfield, research analyst at Aite Group.

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