Seeking to be part of a company primarily focused on wealth management, a $540 million team from SunTrust has jumped ship to join Raymond James & Associates, the firm's employee channel.

They're the latest new hires at Raymond James, which has been on a long-running recruiting push.

The new recruits include managing directors William Keaton and Alfred Sams III, the company said. They joined Raymond James' employee offices in Savannah, Sea Island and Macon, Georgia. The team also includes senior financial planning consultant Kristen Murphy, senior practice marketing associate Carrie Cooper, senior registered client service associates Patrick Bindel and Sharon Kitchens, registered client service associate Anthony Chisolm and client service associate Melanie Cabiness.

The team operates as Keaton & Sams Wealth Management of Raymond James.

Raymond James's newest recruits, a team that managed $540 million in client assets, joined from SunTrust. Left to right: Melanie Cabiness, Sharon Kitchens, Patrick Bindel, Alfred Sams III, Bill Keaton, Kristen Murphy, Anthony Chisolm and Carrie Cooper.

The team shopped around at other firms before making the decision to join Raymond James. But it was a meeting with CEO Paul Reilly that sealed the deal, the advisors said.

“We realized Raymond James had all the tools and capabilities we needed to help our clients succeed. The technology is great; in fact, our staff members are already saving several hours a week in terms of efficiencies,” Sams said in a statement. “We also appreciate the breadth of the firm’s equity research, especially as we run our own investment models."

Keaton’s investment career began at Prudential Securities in 1994, according to FINRA BrokerCheck records. He moved to Savannah with SunTrust in 1998, spending 19 years as a private financial advisor and senior vice president, Raymond James said. Sams started his career with SunTrust in 2001, partnering with Keaton in 2014.

SunTrust declined to comment on the team’s departure.

Raymond James, like other regional firms, has been on a recruiting tear this year, having recently added a $160 million husband-and-wife team from Merrill Lynch. The firm also pulled in a $1.4 million team from FBT Investments and another $170 million husband-and-wife team from Morgan Stanley.