Raymond James has snagged an advisor managing $265 million in client assets from Wells Fargo, the firm announced this week.

The Wasatch Capital Management Group — a firm comprised of advisor Mark Lazar, portfolio associate John Bergerson and service associate Morgan Irvin — will join the firm’s Cottonwood Heights office in the suburbs of Salt Lake City, Utah.

Lazar cited an “advisor-centric” culture and leading technology as key reasons for the move. “It just felt different and better than any other firm,” he says.

The former Wells team will report to branch manager Pam McComas. “With their combined experience and a proven commitment to a long-term approach… [the team] will be great ambassadors for us in the market,” McComas says.

Raymond James third quarter 2017 earnings report

Lazar began his career in 1995 with Merrill Lynch, according to FINRA BrokerCheck records, before moving to Wells Fargo in 1998. Bergerson served as chief compliance officer with Albion Financial Group for 17 years, according to a company release.

A representative from Wells Fargo did not return a request for comment.

COMMITING TO THE PROTOCOL
Raymond James emphatically backed the Broker Protocol — a 2004 accord that ensured advisors could orderly transition from one firm to the next — after Morgan Stanley recently exited the agreement. By reaffirming their participation in the protocol, the firm may become more attractive to advisors thinking about a prospective move.

“Because we believe that the advisor-client relationship is integral to putting a client's interests first, Raymond James remains committed to supporting and embracing the principle that advisors own their practices,” the company said in a statement.

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Independent and regional firms have been maintaining strong appeal with new recruits.

The firm’s wealth management unit has also seen record growth this year. The regional broker-dealer hit $660 billion in assets in the third quarter, thanks in part to strong recruiting and an enduring bull market.

The St. Petersburg, Florida-based company has aggressively recruited advisors both in their employee and independent channels. The firm’s brokerage force topped 7,346 at the end of the third quarter, according to its most recent earnings report.

Sean Allocca

Sean Allocca is the associate editor of Financial Planning, On Wall Street and Bank Investment Consultant.