UBS recruited a team from Morgan Stanley that managed approximately $378 million in client assets, a spokesman confirmed. This marks one of UBS’s newest hires since the firm unveiled sweeping changes to its comp plan.
In June, Tom Naratil, president of UBS Wealth Management Americas, revealed major changes to the wirehouse: a 40% cut to recruiting, more resources for advisers already at the firm and a simplified compensation plan for 2017. That latter move was somewhat unusual as the wirehouses typically release the coming year's comp plan in November or December.
"We're clearly moving money from column A to column B," Naratil told On Wall Street in an June interview. "We are moving money that we would have paid to people to come here to people who are already here."
Industry insiders have been watching to see how advisers received the message. Though the firm said it would scale back recruiting, it still plans to bring in some new talent.
The newest hires are industry veterans, one of whom is a former football coach. They joined UBS in Mt. Laurel, N.J., and are focused on serving high-net-worth clients, according to the firm.
Quote"The minute you stop recruiting, you start going backwards," says recruiter Bill Blevins.
Frank LaRosa, CEO of Elite Consulting Partners, a recruiting firm that was involved in this move, says UBS has made clear that while it will do less recruiting, it will still look to hire talented advisers.
LaRosa notes that some of the firms' newest hires have not switched firms in decades, if ever. "They're buying a long-term team," says the Moorestown, N.J.-based recruiter.
Mickey Wasserman, a recruiter in Agoura Hills, Calif., says advisers haven’t looked upon UBS as a favorable firm due to their perceptions of cost cutting. Noting Naratil's goal of cutting back on recruiting, Wasserman adds that he expects the firm will be keeping its eyes open for the most desirable wealth managers.
Recruiter Bill Blevins says it's hard for firms to pull back on recruiting because competitors continue to poach talent from their ranks.
Blevins, who is based in Dublin, Ohio, expects that UBS is "going to continue recruiting and when they see a high producer, they are going to fire with both barrels. The minute you stop recruiting, you start going backwards."
UBS' newest team reports to branch manager Buddy Buzzerd, according to the firm.
Team member Steven Goldman, who was once the head coach of the Ottawa Rough Riders of the Canadian Football League, briefly served as an adviser with Lehman Brothers in 1992, before transitioning to Advest in 1993, according to FINRA BrokerCheck records. In 1997, he moved to Smith Barney.
According to Goldman's profile on Morgan Stanley's website, he had been named annually to the wirehouse's prestigious Century Club since 2005.
Fellow team member Lynn Fryckberg started her advisory career at that firm in 1983, according to BrokerCheck records. Like Goldman, Fryckberg has been named annually to Morgan's Century Club since 2013, according to her profile on the firm's website.
Adviser Douglas Pires also started his career at Smith Barney in 2006. All three advisers stayed with the firm following its merger with Morgan Stanley.
Also moving with the team are advisers Lulu Xu and Jordan Cotter, as well as wealth strategist George Smith. Xu started her career with Pruco Securities in 2011, moving to Morgan Stanley in 2013. Cotter became an adviser at Merrill Lynch in 2013, transitioning to Morgan Stanley the following year.
A spokeswoman for Morgan Stanley confirmed the team's departure and declined to comment further.