J.P. Morgan Securities recruited two Merrill Lynch advisors who were previously part of a team overseeing more than $2 billion in client assets, the firm said.

Jason Gordon and Thomas Scott Holstead represent the firm's first hires in 2018, according to J.P. Morgan Securities. They leave behind: Phillip Leonard and his son Bryan. A spokeswoman for J.P. Morgan Securities and Merrill Lynch declined to comment on the split.

Holstead ranked no. 55 on Barron's top advisors in Texas list in 2016, which pegged him approximately $1.9 billion in assets.

By joining J.P. Morgan Securities, Holstead and Gordon are expanding the boutique wealth manager's presence in Houston, where it previously did not have any advisors.

“We look forward to growing the JPMS presence in this great city,” Chris Harvey, CEO of the unit, said in a statement.

Since Harvey became CEO in 2017, J.P. Morgan Securities has been an aggressive recruiter, picking up a number of large advisory teams. In November, the firm lured away a UBS team overseeing $2 billion in client assets.

Holstead cited JPMorgan's platform and capabilities as reasons why he and his partner made the move. They report to David Jernigan, regional director.

Gordon and Holstead had been with Merrill Lynch since 2009, according to FINRA BrokerCheck. They previously worked at UBS. Holstead also has past work experience at Goldman Sachs.

A spokeswoman for Merrill Lynch was not available for immediate comment.

While they may have expanded J.P. Morgan Securities' presence to a new market, the overall bank has an array of operations in the city. JPMorgan Chase has more than 6,400 employees in Houston, according to the bank. It also has 207 local bank branches, according to JPMorgan Chase.

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