A former Merrill Lynch team with $355 million in client assets has joined Raymond James Financial Services, the firm’s independent advisor channel in Virginia Beach, Va., according to a company release.

The team, which operates as Bellars Harris Wealth Management, includes advisors Tim Bellars, Claudia Bellars and Brad Harris. They are joined by the Bellarses’ son Axel Bellars, vice president of Bellars Harris Wealth Management and also a wealth manager with RJFS. Jeannie Marie Hughes is a client service manager, and her daughter Laura Savage is a client service associate, the release said.

Tim Bellars has been in the financial services industry since 1987 and worked at multiple firms, including UBS and Merrill Lynch. Claudia Bellars began her financial services career in 1985 in banking. She transitioned to the investment advisory business with Paine Webber in 1992 (later acquired by UBS), and in 2008 joined Merrill Lynch Wealth Management.

Their partner, Brad Harris, worked at Merrill Lynch for 15 years, where he held the positions of first vice president, wealth management; senior financial advisor; and portfolio advisor. He also worked at Paine Webber early in his career.

Claudia Bellars said the team found just what it was looking for in Raymond James—a very client- and advisor-centric firm. “With the firm’s focus on wealth management, we knew it was the best home not only for our clients and practice now, but also for the future of our practice. Axel and Laura are the next generation of our practice, and we’re pleased to have access to the resources—from succession planning to wealth planning and more—to help us, and eventually them, continue to grow our business,” she said.

Shannon Reid, Northeast regional director for RJFS, said she is pleased that Bellars Harris found the resources Raymond James offers to be the perfect fit for them as they launch and grow their independent business. “The fact that they transitioned to independence, even in the midst of a pandemic, is a testament to the level of support we can provide so that advisors can spend time focusing on what matters most—their clients. We’re extremely proud to partner with them and welcome them to Raymond James,” she added.