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Merrill Lynch Loses Another FA to This Rival

By Alex Padalka April 17, 2019

Raymond James continues poaching advisors from Merrill Lynch, most recently nabbing a representative in New Orleans, Raymond James says.

Willis "Andy" Lovell joins Raymond James & Associates, the firm’s traditional employee broker-dealer, as Lovell Wealth Management, according to a press release from Raymond James.

Also joining Lovell at RJA from Merrill Lynch is senior registered client services associate Alyssa Klein, Raymond James says. The practice previously oversaw around $177 million at Merrill Lynch, according to the press release. Lovell, who joined the financial services industry in 1996, had joined Merrill Lynch in 2007 from UBS, Raymond James says.

“I was drawn to the client-first and advisor-focused culture at Raymond James,” Lovell says in the press release. “The firm has all the resources and capabilities of a large firm, but empowers its advisors to build and run their practices as they choose. I am supported and encouraged to pursue my own vision for my business and not someone else’s. While I looked at other firms, none offered this level of independence or support.”

Separately, an employee broker at Raymond James in Austin, Texas, has formed his own RIA, according to InvestmentNews.

Robert Harrell II began his financial services career at Merrill Lynch in 1992 and joined RJA 20 years ago, the publication writes. He oversaw $341.5 million as an employee broker before giving up his securities license and launching Harrell Investment Partners, which will use Raymond James as its custodian, according to InvestmentNews.

Raymond James and its affiliated companies have been scooping up advisors recently from wirehouses and other competitors, adding several representatives from Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley, UBS, LPL Financial and AB Bernstein, as well as more Merrill Lynch reps, since the start of the year.

Merrill Lynch, on the other hand, has lost a few big producers in recent weeks, including most recently a team overseeing close to $600 million who jumped ship to Stifel Financial and a 32-year Merrill Lynch veteran who moved to UBS.

Raymond James also nabbed an advisor from SunTrust Investment Services, according to a separate press release.

Debbie Smith joins RJA in Atlanta, along with senior registered client service associate Deborah Hassan, Raymond James says. The team serves families, retirees, business owners, women executives and nonprofitsand previously oversaw around $200 million at SunTrust, according to the press release.


Smith began her financial services industry career in 1994 as a mutual fund analyst and became a financial advisor in 2007 at SunTrust, Raymond James says.

“I was looking for a firm where I could run my practice as I wanted, with more flexibility in how I serve and select my clients,” Smith says in the press release. “Essentially, I wanted to be more entrepreneurial and Raymond James was the best fit. Additionally, several of my former colleagues had moved to Raymond James over the years and had great things to say about the firm: its support for advisors, the enhanced technology and resources available, and the firm’s unwavering focus on putting clients first.”