Four advisors in Ohio are leaving Wells Fargo’s proprietary brokerage unit, Wells Fargo Advisors, to join the firm’s independent arm.

Michael Sejka and Carmen Monaco, of Blue Ocean Investment Group, in Westlake, Ohio, will lead their team of financial advisors, including Mary Lumsden and Tom Haggerty, to Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network (WFAFN) in Brunswick, Ohio, on April 1, according to a Blue Ocean press release. The team also includes client service associates Margaret Hanslik and Shawntee Clay.

The team managed about $425 million at the end of last month and collectively has more than 100 years of experience, the press release said, adding that. Blue Ocean generates more than $3 million in annual revenue. The group serves clients with $250,000 in assets to more than $15 million.

“Developing an in-depth investment plan for each client is the cornerstone of our practice,” Sejka said in a statement. “Working with a limited number of clients enables us to focus on the three principles of wealth management: the creation and growth of wealth, the preservation of wealth and the planning and distribution of wealth in a tax-efficient way.”

Sejka began his career at McDonald Investments in 2001 and Monaco started with Morgan Stanley Dean Witter in 2000. Both advisors, according to the release, have centered their businesses on discretionary advisory portfolio management. The duo started working together in 2010, when Sejka joined Morgan Stanley Smith Barney. They moved to Wells Fargo Advisors in 2014. 

Their jump to independence underscores a developing trend in the wealth management space. RIAs are the fastest-growing category in wealth management, according to a 2021 report by Mckinsey & Company. The RIA ranks swell by more than 1,600 advisors each year, reported McKinsey. 

Advisors tend to opt for independence for several main reasons, including the need to monetize their business due to principals’ aging or to grow greater outside of the broker-dealers framework, McKinsey said in the report.

Monaco cited Wells Fargo’s support of the duo’s long desire for independence.

“One of the reasons we chose to move our businesses to Wells Fargo Advisors was knowing that they support advisors seeking the autonomy of owning their practices,” the advisor stated in the release. “Staying within Wells Fargo as independent brokers offers the convenience of familiar systems and avoids the disruptions associated with transferring to a different broker-dealer for clients.”