UBS Adds 11 Brokers in New Hiring Push, Loses a Few to Morgan Stanley

September 26, 2019

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UBS Wealth Management USA is trying to rekindle recruiting enthusiasm among managers who have been focusing more on retaining advisors than on hiring new ones as the bank skinnies down more than $2 billion of forgivable recruiting loans on its balance sheet.

“[W]e continue to be the firm of choice for quality FAs looking to join, grow and retire at UBS,” Michael J. McVicker, head of business and change management, wrote in a memo that gave shout-outs by name to market heads and branch managers who collectively recruited 11 brokers overseeing $1.3 billion of client assets since the end of July.

“Our recruiting pipeline continues to trend up and we are in discussions with franchise teams across the country,” McVicker wrote in the September 10 memo.

Annual production of the new brokers at their previous firms ranged from a high of $4.7 million for a “signature” Denver broker brought in by market head Chris Dimuria, branch manager Bruce Dillard and West Coast private wealth head Todd Locicero to a JP Morgan Chase Private Client advisor in south Florida who was generating $600,000, according to the memo.  Several joined from private banks, and the larger producers are centered in the western U.S.

Leading the list was Joseph Brienza, the Denver broker who joined UBS’s private wealth unit on July 30 after 13 years at AllianceBernstein, where he managed $500 million. Brienza earlier in his career was finance director at the Republican Governors Association and a White House assistant to the President, according to his LinkedIn and UBS biographies.

UBS last month recruited the veteran Merrill Lynch team of James N. Patrick and John D’Amico in Mill Valley, Calif., who were producing $2.7 million, and $1.4 million Merrill producer Michele McCallion, who oversaw $391 million of private wealth assets in New York and Greenwich, Conn. McVicker called the Californians a “franchise” team, congratulating market head Erin Borger and branch manager Marcus Fagersten on the get.

He also tipped his hat to Los Angeles market head Ron Meraz on the arrival of $2.7 million producer Robert Meeks from Wells Fargo Private Bank. Meeks, who joined UBS two weeks ago, had been overseeing $267 million for clients, the memo said.

Borger and San Francisco branch manager Mike Williams were credited with the mid-August hire of Eaven Horter, who was producing $1 million on $175 million of client assets at JP Morgan Private Bank, according to the memo.

In New York City, UBS hired Matthew Santini on September 3. He joined with four years’ experience at Lenox Advisors, a unit of MML Investor Services, LLC, and was producing $1.1 million of annual fees and commissions on $140 million in client assets, according to the memo.

The congratulatory list ended with recognition of Midwest and East Coast managers, who recruited:

  • Thomas Young, a Cincinnati-area broker who joined on August 9 after a decade with Morgan Stanley, where he produced $900,000 on $90 million of client assets;
  • Neil Conway in Brookfield, Ill., who the memo said generated $800,000 in annual revenue at BMO Harris Financial Advisors on $88 million in assets and arrived on Sept. 5;
  • Chris Schumacher, who joined UBS’s private wealth unit in Philadelphia from RIA Geller & Co., where he produced $900,000 in the past 12 months on $125 million in client assets; and
  • Pedro Lopez, who arrived in UBS’s Aventura, Fla., branch at the end of August from a five-year stint at J.P. Morgan Chase Private Client. He produced $600,000 in trailing-12-month revenue on $80 million of client assets, according to the memo.

McVicker’s recruiting-gram came a few days before a $4-million production team of two brokers in Houston who had spent their careers at UBS jumped to Morgan Stanley, and was followed by the departure last Friday of an $11-million team in Los Angeles to First Republic.

Separately, another UBS advisor in Houston—30-year veteran Richard Markey—joined Morgan Stanley on August 30, according to his BrokerCheck record. He was producing $1 million, according to a source.

A Morgan Stanley spokeswoman confirmed Markey’s hire but declined to comment on the size of his book. Markey did not return requests for comment.

Despite the recruiting revival at UBS, the firm has experienced a net outflow of brokers in recent years, reflecting its Swiss banking parent’s contention that aggressive recruiting at the former PaineWebber brokerage business was “diluting earnings.”

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