$200 Mln-AUM Merrill Duo Joins Stifel in St. Louis Suburbs
Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. has pulled another experienced advisor from Merrill Lynch’s ranks, this time a 23-year industry veteran and a junior broker who together had been managing $200 million in client assets in the St. Louis suburbs, according to a Monday announcement.
The two, who call themselves Simplify Wealth Group, work out of a branch in Frontenac, Missouri, a town roughly 14 miles outside of Stifel’s headquarters in St. Louis.A Stifel spokesman declined to provide figures on the team’s annual production.
Schutte, who began his brokerage career in 1997 with Morgan Stanley predecessor firm Dean Witter, according to his BrokerCheck report, did not respond to a request for comment sent via social media.
“Stifel provides advisors with resources to assist clients in an unbiased atmosphere, without corporate pressure,” Schutte had said in a prepared statement. “That is such a straightforward and common sense position, and it’s refreshing.”
A Merrill spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment on the departure or Schutte’s remarks. The exit came the same day as another Merrill broker with $400 million in assets in Dallas left for regional Raymond James Financial in Dallas.
Schutte, a self-described “longtime and mediocre hockey player” who coaches youth hockey on the side, wrote in his former Merrill bio that his “fascination” with finance began decades ago when he attended a Merrill Lynch seminar with his father while still in grade school.
“Having never become clients of Merrill or any financial institution, Mo witnessed the stressful and costly financial mistakes made by his family (as business owners) – ones that easily could have been avoided with the attention of a caring advisor,” Schutte wrote in the bio, which also said he had worked in his parents’ ice cream serving business growing up.
Schutte and Rowe will report to Rick Murphy, Stifel’s branch manager in Frontenac, who joined the firm in 2019 after a 31-year stay with Merrill.
Stifel in July announced it had hired industry veterans from Merrill Lynch in the Las Vegas area and California’s Newport Beach.
In June, it recruited from Merrill a $1.9 million-producing duo in Brentwood, Tennessee. Led by William H. Wade, contended with Merrill’s centralized group of “client experience specialists” deployed against brokers who jump to competitors in an effort to retain clients. Wade had said he nonetheless moved around 25% of his book of business to Stifel in the two weeks following his departure.
Stifel ended the second quarter of 2021 with 2,282 brokers, up by a net eight brokers from the prior quarter and 50 year-over-year, despite a continued lag in hiring.