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John Pierce

Former Stifel Recruiting Head Joins Cetera

John Pierce, who was placed on garden leave at Stifel earlier this year, takes over as head of business development at Cetera.

Stifel Financial former head of recruiting John Pierce has joined Cetera Financial in the same role, reporting to Tim Stinson, head of wealth management and recruiting. Pierce replaces Michael Murray, who left Cetera a few months ago.

Cetera had poached Murray two years ago from LPL Financial, where he served as the top business development executive for 16 years.

When he was brought on, Murray was charged with implementing what the firm called its “transforming” business development strategy, which would include expanding the business development team and hiring new professional recruiters. Murray was also tasked with leading the firm’s “data-driven” recruitment strategy. He originally reported to Michael Zuna, Cetera’s CMO, who came from Aflac and Petco, as part of a broader strategy to integrate marketing strategy, brand development, digital social media marketing and public relations with business development.  

But last April, Murray was lifted out of Zuna’s group to report directly to Adam Antoniades, who’s since been appointed CEO of Cetera, a move that signaled the firm’s heightened focus on recruiting advisors to the platforms after a year that saw a net loss of advisors, sources told

In a recent interview with, Antoniades said the firm had a record year in 2019 for recruiting, adding $100 million in gross revenue, not including the transactions it did. And for the first four months of this year, the firm added $20 million in recruited gross revenue.  

Earlier this year, Pierce was put on garden leave at Stifel, according to published reports, departing under mysterious circumstances. In an email, Pierce referred to a Cetera spokeswoman, Taylor Trovillion, who said he left to pursue new opportunities and relocate his family.

He’ll take over Cetera's data-driven business development strategy.

“Cetera’s unique organizational model provides the agility of a small firm with the resources and scale of a large enterprise backed by a growth and service mindset,” Pierce said, in a statement. “These industry-leading attributes are highly attractive to leading financial professionals.” 

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