More Wirehouse Traction for New National RIA

A recent-vintage RIA with national ambitions and a Morgan Stanley Smith Barney flavor in its management makeup is drawing more advisors from that wirehouse.

Washington Wealth Management in Middleburg, Va. this week said William E. Blanton has joined its Carmel Valley office near San Diego, Calif. after five years at MSSB and another seven at Merrill Lynch. Blanton managed $170 million in assets at Morgan Stanley, with average client assets of more than $5 million, Washington President John Simmons said. Blanton’s practice is called Vintage West Capital Management.

He’s the fourth MSSB advisor team to sign up with Washington since December. Simmons said. Other Morgan alumni include Thomas Pacilio in Westport, Conn.; Mitchell and Jessica Horst in the Green Valley, Nev. office near Las Vegas; and David Allen, also in Carmel Valley. (It’s a busy week for Morgan Stanley recruitment; see my colleague Diana Britton’s blog, Yield of Dreams, on an advisor who left MSSB for his own business at LPL Financial.)

“We’re recruiting from everywhere,” Simmons said. “But several of us did come from Morgan Stanley and have connections with their great advisors.”

Up until a year ago, Simmons himself was a regional director at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, covering the regions of southern California, Hawaii and Nevada. Washington Wealth CEO Tony Sirianni was a legacy Legg Mason advisor before it merged with Smith Barney.

About 15 financial advisors with about $1 billion in AUM have signed up with Washington following its launch about a year ago, Simmons said. Founding partner and majority shareholder Eric Nettere is a former trader of long-term government bonds at the Chicago Board of Trade.

Advisors who join Washington Wealth are independent contractors who receive equity stakes in the firm, with a 10-year vesting period, Simmons said. The company collects 30 percent of their revenue, in return for which it provides cloud-based technology, back-office support, and other services. (Advisors pay for their own custodial costs, selling and marketing support, and their own health care and errors & omissions insurance.)

The firm has 10 offices around the country and plans to open two more by the end of this year. The long-term plan is to draw 100 advisors and $10 billion in assets over the next two to three years, Simmons said. There are no plans to go public, he added, but the company does have buy-sell agreements for advisors who want to cash out. Washington Wealth also plans to pay dividends at some point, Simmons said—but not soon.

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