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Financial Stifel has a goal of more than doubling its clients’ assets to $1 trillion and is prioritizing recruitment for its independent channel to help it achieve that goal.

“We have 400 billion dollars. Well, we want $1 trillion in client assets. That’s what we’re focused on, and we’re going to get there by growing organically with our existing customers, getting new customers and recruiting,” the CEO said. Ron Kruszewski said on the company’s fourth quarter 2021 earnings call on Wednesday.

“When I started, our AUM was $8 billion, so we can do that, and growing the AUM is a critical foundation for our growth, as it has been for the past 25 years” , he added.

Stifel’s global wealth management unit had $436 billion in client assets in the fourth quarter, up 22% year-over-year, according to the company’s fourth-quarter earnings report . The company had 2,227 advisors at the end of 2021, a net gain of 15 from the prior quarter and 40 year-over-year.

“I expect 2022 to be another strong year from a recruiting perspective, as our current pipelines remain strong. Not only have we added over 121 advisors in 2021, but we continue to see our private client revenues shift to a higher paying model,” Kruszewski said.

The CEO said Stifel’s fee-based revenue has grown over the years due to contributions from advisors with high net worth clients who have joined the business as well as growth in net interest income.

Stifel’s consulting franchise is “particularly noteworthy” and “has grown from around $200 million in consulting fees in 2015 to $850 million in 2021,” Kruszewski said.

And recruitment at the firm’s independent channel, Stifel Independent Advisors, is “starting to pay off”, he added.

Kruszewski had said during the company’s third quarter 2021 earnings call in October that the company had renewed its focus on its independent channel. “It’s a chain of advisers that we had pretty much ignored,” he said at the time.

During Wednesday’s call, Kruszewski stressed that the company remains on track to grow its independent channel.

“In global wealth management, we have been focused on enhancing our advisory model through aggressive recruitment of entrepreneurial advisors combined with a robust product offering and technology platform,” he said. .

He said this approach has resulted in “solid growth in the number of financial advisors on our platform as well as the amount of client assets.”

“Looking ahead, our recruitment pipeline is strong and the traction we are gaining with Stifel Independent Advisors will further enhance our growth prospects as we seek to leverage cutting-edge technology with our advice-driven model. “, he added.

Kruszewski said recruiting can be difficult, likening it to “hand-to-hand” combat. Advisors “don’t come in packs of 20,” but rather “team by team if you’re not doing an acquisition,” he said.

Nonetheless, Stifel is optimistic about his efforts to grow his independent channel, which “are just getting started”, he noted.

“We are going to be a new entrant into this space for advisors that we have identified that will fit our strategic objectives for Stifel Independent Advisors,” he said.

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