January 29, 2018 / 6:10 PM / 9 months ago

MOVES-Ex-RBC wealth mgmt chief Taft joins Baird as vice chairman

Jan 29 (Reuters) - Baird, the independent and privately held wealth management firm, has hired former RBC Wealth Management head John Taft as a vice chairman and member of its executive committee, Baird said on Monday.

Taft, who led the Royal Bank of Canada's U.S. wealth business from 2005 to 2016, spearheaded the firm's growth strategy. It included hiring former Wall Street brokers and RBC's 2015 acquisition of Los Angeles-based City National.

Taft said in an interview he will bring his recruiting experience to Baird's wealth business, but that the firm is not about to launch a big hiring push.

"Hands-on involvement in recruiting advisers is one way I know I can add value," said Taft, a former chairman of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association lobbying group.

"But Baird has never been about quantity over quality," said Taft.

Baird, which also has capital markets, private equity and asset management businesses under its umbrella, has around 850 financial advisers.

Steve Booth, Baird's president and chief executive officer, said Taft will contribute to the stable growth agenda set by the executive committee.

"Part of what makes Baird unique is that ... we have evolutionary change, not revolutionary change," Booth said by phone. "Having someone of John Taft's experience, wisdom and judgment, will be a valuable addition to ... our collective thinking." (Reporting by Elizabeth Dilts in New York; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

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