Advisers on the Move

D.A. Davidson expands with hires from Merrill Lynch

Boutique firm has recruited eight financial advisers in the past two months, including four from Merrill Lynch

Jun 25, 2018 @ 5:07 pm

By Sarah Min

D.A. Davidson & Co., a broker-dealer headquartered in Great Falls, Mont., has recruited eight financial advisers in the past two months, including four from Merrill Lynch.

"Our recruiting from wirehouses has picked up," said Michael Purpura, president of wealth management at D.A. Davidson.

In mid-June, the boutique firm hired Aron Thompson to act as senior vice president and financial adviser in its Seattle branch. He previously worked at Merrill Lynch, where he oversaw $120 million in client assets.

In May, the firm opened a wealth management office in Colorado Springs, Colo., with three financial advisers, two associate advisers and three support staff members from Merrill Lynch. The team will bring in a majority of $380 million in client assets from Merrill Lynch.

In April, D.A. Davidson opened a new office in Dublin, Ohio, staffed by two financial advisers and a staff member. The team oversees approximately $153 million in client assets.

While boutique firms have traditionally been viewed as small, Mr. Purpura said that aggressive recruiting in the past year has helped power the expansion at D.A. Davidson, which had $47.4 billion in client assets in 2017.

"The sheer number of people departing from wirehouses, they're big numbers to start with," Mr. Purpura said. "I expect more attrition to come from bigger firms."

In the past five years, D.A. Davidson started making significant acquisitions, such as Crowell Weedon & Co. in 2013. At the same time, it revamped most of its technology for financial advisers through Envestnet to compete with bigger firms.

In terms of transition packages, Mr. Purpura noted that the firm's offerings are similar to others in the industry.

While D.A. Davidson does not have a specific timeline with regard to expansion, it plans to be aggressive and opportunistic.

"We're not going to be afraid of competing for new markets if we have the right people," Mr. Purpura said.

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