ON THE MOVE-Baird adds advisers from Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo

Tue Feb 26, 2013 2:29pm EST

Feb 26 (Reuters) - Robert W. Baird & Co said on Tuesday it hired five veteran financial advisers who together managed $500 million in client assets at their old firms, top U.S. brokerages Morgan Stanley Wealth Management and Wells Fargo Advisors.

The advisers, who moved in February, joined Baird's private wealth management group in Maine and North Carolina. They are among the latest big recruits for Milwaukee-based Baird, which Vice Chairman John Mabee said has seen a "steady" flow of adviser interest from top U.S. brokerages.

"There are good financial advisers out there that want to go back to a (type of) firm that they were used to," Mabee said in an interview on Tuesday, referring to veteran advisers who started their careers at smaller firms that were later acquired by larger Wall Street companies.

"So many financial advisers are just working for places that they didn't sign up for," he said, adding that this, in turn, has benefited interest in the smaller, privately owned Baird.

In North Carolina, advisers Joseph Lipe and John Lipe joined Baird's Charlotte office from Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, where they managed $250 million in client assets. Joseph Lipe, who joined Baird as a director, had been an adviser at Morgan Stanley and its predecessor firms since 1976.

Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, majority-owned by Morgan Stanley, was formed from the merger of Morgan Stanley's wealth unit and Citigroup Inc's Smith Barney in 2009.

Also on the move in North Carolina, adviser Kevin Phillips joined Baird from Wells Fargo Advisors, the brokerage owned by Wells Fargo & Co. Phillips, who managed $105 million in client assets, joined Baird as a senior vice president based in Baird's new office in Lake Norman.

Phillips had been an adviser at A.G. Edwards before joining Wells after his firm was acquired in 2007 by Wachovia, which one year later was acquired by Wells.

In Maine, advisers Robert Glenn and Chad Schuman joined Baird's Portland office, also from Wells, where they managed $145 million in client assets. Both advisers were also previously with A.G. Edwards prior to joining Wells. Glenn, who has worked in the industry for nearly three decades, joined Baird as a vice president.

Mabee is hoping that the addition of senior hires to the firm will strengthen its position in the wealth management industry.

"We would like to be the best middle-market firm," he said.

Baird has added nearly 275 financial advisers and branch managers to its private wealth management group since the beginning of 2009. Many of those hires were industry veterans who joined the firm from big U.S. brokerages.

Morgan Stanley declined to comment on the adviser departures. Wells Fargo did not immediately return a request for comment.