July 25 (Reuters) - Philadelphia-based brokerage Janney Montgomery Scott LLC hired a veteran adviser in Georgia with more than $200 million in client assets under management.
Adviser Christopher Willett, a 30-year industry veteran, moved to Janney Montgomery Scott last Thursday from Morgan Keegan, the Memphis-based brokerage now owned by Raymond James Financial Inc. Willett, who spent the last seven years at Morgan Keegan, generated $2.8 million in revenue last year.
With the addition of Willett, the average annual revenue generated per new adviser hire this year climbed to $900,000, according to Janney's Private Client Group President Jerry Lombard, who told Reuters the firm has been attracting advisers in the "top decile" of rival brokerages.
Those top-level hires are boosting expectations that 2012 will be the best recruiting year for Janney in terms of average production of advisers joining the firm.
"Our size is our advantage," Lombard said on Wednesday, noting that Janney has largely benefited from breakaway advisers, leaving major Wall Street brokerages to join smaller-scale, regional firms.
"We're large enough where we have all of the services and solutions for (advisers') client needs, but we're also small enough where they feel that they can relate to the decision makers or be a part of the decision-making process."
The roughly 720 advisers in Janney's private client group are only about 4 percent of the size of brokerage behemoths Morgan Stanley Smith Barney and Bank of America Merrill Lynch, which both have around 17,000 advisers.
Many of Janney's big hires this year have come from those major brokerages. Those veteran advisers joining Janney managed more than $1.2 billion at their old firms, based on moves tracked by Reuters.
Janney, which is owned by the Penn Mutual Life Insurance Co , expects to add 40 to 50 advisers by year-end, with an average annual production of about $900,000 per adviser that typically translates to $90 million in client assets under management.
Willett, who ranks among Janney's top scoops this year, joined the firm as an executive vice president of investments, based in the Atlanta, Georgia with manager Jeff Paulsen. Willett moved with his team of account executives, Patricia Fleury, Steve Edwards and Geoffrey Deller. (Reporting by Ashley Lau in New York; editing by Gunna Dickson)