Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. Inc., the broker-dealer subsidiary of Stifel Financial Corp. in St. Louis, has hired three advisors managing a combined total of $224 million in client assets, the company said.

Cole Abbott and Adrienne Stewart have joined the firm in a new Private Client Group office in McAllen, Tex.—the firm’s 16th office in that state. They come to Stifel from Merrill Lynch, where Abbott and Stewart were responsible for managing $183 million in client assets.  

Gary Dennis has joined Stifel’s Private Client Group office in Flint, Mich. He came from Ameriprise, where he was responsible for $41 million in client assets.

According to Stifel spokesman Brian Spellecy, the firm has aggressively recruited over the past couple of years, but 2019 was one for the records and the new year is off to a good start.

“By my (unofficial) count, we added 19 advisors in January—that figure includes trainees,” he said in an email response. “So far, they’ve come to us from Wells, UBS, Merrill and Ameriprise.”

Spellecy said there were many reasons why advisors at bank-owned firms were flocking to Stifel, but pointed to one in particular.

“Our FAs can engage the bank whenever their clients have a need," he said. "They’re not forced to sell banking products.”

John Pierce, head of recruitment at Stifel, said in a news release there was an even more basic reason for advisors to leave long-established banking institutions with storied histories.

“Continued compensation cuts at bank-owned entities have caused advisors to re-evaluate their relationship with their employer,” he said. “Advisors see Stifel’s limited bureaucracy, open architecture, and stable comp plan as a way to care for their clients and their families.”

Stifel Financial Corp. is a financial services holding company that conducts its banking, securities and financial services business through several wholly owned subsidiaries.