Three Morgan Stanley teams with a combined $700 million in assets have joined Steward Partners, the independent firm affiliated with Raymond James said.

Frank Hibbard, Amy Rosa, Todd Hoffman, Angela Helmus-O'Brien, Travis Hadwin and Todd Seymour left Morgan for Steward's new ninth office in Clearwater, Florida, expanding the firm's footprint beyond the northeast for the first time, Steward announced this week.

Steward Partners' Frank Hibbard and Amy Rosa
Frank Hibbard (left) and Amy Rosa (right) opened Steward Partners new Clearwater, Florida, office last month.

Hibbard, who is the former mayor of Clearwater and whose family ran one of the founding hardware cooperatives of the True Value home appliance company, had previously worked with Rosa as The Hibbard Group. Hoffman also came over to Steward with his own team. Helmus-O'Brien, Hadwin, and Seymour made up the third group.

The six advisers, already based in Clearwater while working for Morgan, generated almost $6 million in combined annual revenue, according to a statement released by Steward. The firm, which now has nearly 50 advisers with over $5.5 billion in recruited assets under management, doubled in size in 2016, founding partner Gregory Banasz says.

“We’re looking to double it again this year,” Banasz says from Steward’s Washington, D.C. headquarters. “And this is the first branch outside our northeast footprint that we’ve opened because of the growth and attention that we’re getting.”

Banasz notes that the three teams made their transitions separately, retaining many clients who were familiar with Steward’s parent, Raymond James, based just 25 miles south of Clearwater in St. Petersburg.

A spokeswoman for Morgan Stanley confirmed the advisers’ moves but declined to comment further.

Hibbard started at Morgan Stanley in 2002, according to FINRA BrokerCheck records. The Republican served as Clearwater’s mayor from 2005 to 2012, leaving office under term limits as the city’s second longest-tenured politician, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

“Having the freedom and flexibility to manage our clients' wealth was paramount in our decision to move,” Hibbard said in a statement. “Being able to utilize a wealth management or advisory approach for our clients means their interests come first, not how we get compensated.”

Rosa began her career at Morgan in 2010, according to BrokerCheck. Hoffman entered the industry during an earlier stint with Raymond James in 1992 and moved to Salomon Smith Barney in 1996.

Helmus-O’Brien got her start at American Express Financial Advisors and IDS Life Insurance Company in 1990, BrokerCheck records show. She later departed for Morgan in 2004. Hadwin had been with the wirehouse since 2007 following eight years with Merrill Lynch. Seymour jumped to Steward after two years with Morgan.

Steward kicked off its recruiting efforts this year by attracting two advisers who oversaw $200 million at their previous posts. The firm had opened its eighth office, in Keene, New Hampshire, in the fall to go with locations in New York City, Bethesda, Maryland, and elsewhere.

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Tobias Salinger

Tobias Salinger

Tobias Salinger is an associate editor of Financial Planning, On Wall Street and Bank Investment Consultant.