Oppenheimer Brokers Leave Seattle-Area Branch
Jonathan Bever, a 21-year veteran of the stock-picking business, has left the Bellevue, Washington, branch of Oppenheimer & Co. to join Fulcrum Wealth Advisors, a local registered investment advisory firm founded by a former Opco colleague.
Bever’s departure from the branch follows that of a three-broker team from Opco’s Bellevue office in late August that managed more than $342 million in client assets and moved to Stifel Nicolaus’ 16-advisor office in the Seattle suburb.
“My contract was up, and I left a week later,” Bever said of his decision to join a small shop where he expects to have more freedom to manage clients’ portfolios and less potential embarrassment about recommending financial stocks when his former employer has been reporting a string of quarterly losses.
Oppenheimer Holdings has booked $6.1 million of losses in the first half of the year following a loss of $1.2 million in all of 2016.
Bever, who worked with Fulcrum founder Jim Falcone at Opco and at UBS Financial Services, said his production through his five years at the former firm fell to about $250,000 from more than twice that at UBS in part because of micro-management by a former Opco manager. Fulcrum manages $10.25 million in 22 customer accounts, according to its most recent ADV filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Stifel last month recruited Oppenheimer’s H. Scott Kruse, along with two other advisors and two CSAs to its Bellevue office, where they specialize in managing portfolios of dividend-paying stocks.
The Opco branch in Bellevue employs 13 advisors, about half of the number there five years ago, according to current and former employees.
An Oppenheimer spokeswoman said the firm’s Seattle private client complex has a total of 34 advisors (including the 13 in Bellevue), down a net four people over the past two years, including two “recent hires.” Revenue for the complex in the first half of 2017 is up 4% from last year, she said.
Oppenheimer employed 1,132 private client advisors across the firm as of the end of the second quarter, down a net 67 from 1,199 a year earlier. The decline reflects “the Company’s attention to productivity, leading to attrition for less productive financial advisers [and] headcount also has been impacted by retirements and normal attrition,” it wrote in its second-quarter earnings filing.