Raymond James Dances the Texas Two Step, Snagging Merrill Frisco Team and Austin Duo
As its corporate parent’s 2020 fiscal year ends, Raymond James & Associates danced the Texas two-step on Thursday, hiring from Merrill Lynch Wealth Management a North Texas team and an Austin duo.
A three-person team led by 37-year industry and 16-year Merrill veteran Jon Blair moved to Raymond James’ Frisco office. At Merrill, the team had $1.35 million in production and $460 million in client assets, which included 401(K) plan accounts, according to a Raymond James management source, who asked to remain anonymous. Moving with Blair is his son Matt, as well as a client associate Diana Yacob.
The two Austin-based advisors making the Merrill-to-RayJay trek had $1.2 million in production and included Charles M. Cooper and Brent Elyea. Cooper, a 29-year industry veteran, started at a Smith Barney predecessor in 1992 and also worked at UBS before joining Merrill in 2009, according to BrokerCheck. Elyea started in the industry at Merrill in 2016.
The advisors’ moves from Merrill all coincided with the Sept. 30 end of St. Petersburg, Florida-based Raymond James Financial’s fiscal year, which means that the advisors would eliminate one year of waiting for their deferred compensation to vest, according to the same executive. The coincidence helped jumpstart their timing, and also will bolster Raymond James’ broker roster for its year-end report, the same executive said.
Previously, Raymond James Financial Chief Executive Paul Reilly in July touted a revival in veteran broker recruiting after a six-month lag. The boost in part reflected sweetened recruiting offers that the regional began offering earlier this year after executives found it was being outbid by as much as 50% in some cases.
Blair’s team reports to Raymond James’ North Texas-Arkansas complex manager Jeremy Silvas, who left Merrill in 2019 after managing a complex in Houston, and in late July, had hired a multi-million Merrill team led by Christopher Beavers in Fort Worth.
The elder Blair is a Texas Panhandle native, according to his Merrill bio, who began his career in 1983 at EF Hutton. He had managed Merrill’s Midland branch office as its senior resident director for the past eight years, according to the Merrill bio. Matt started in the industry at Merrill in 2009.
Cooper and Elyea report to Sam Dickson, who manages Raymond James’ South-Central Texas complex, according to an internal announcement.
Three of the advisors did not respond to requests for comments, left via social media. Eylea declined to comment immediately by press time.
Raymond James and Merrill spokespersons did not return a request for comment.
Four years ago, Merrill President Andy Sieg has laid out a strategy of growth without recruiting that relies on training and tying compensation to new accounts but has been stepping up efforts to address broker feedback after acknowledging a rise in attrition.