Another UBS Team Fled in Advance of Protocol, Merrill Vet Goes Independent
A former UBS Wealth Management team in Florida with $3.2 million in production left the firm a day before it exited the Protocol for Broker Recruiting to join the employee branch system of Raymond James Financial, RayJay said on Thursday.
The move of Michael E. Zizmer, Allen Newton Jones, Kevin Davidson and two client associates is the latest evidence that brokers at UBS who were planning to leave hastened their departures to take advantage of Protocol protections prior to the firm’s exit from the pact on December 1.
“Thankfully, we got out before the midnight curfew hit,” said a member of the team who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The Protocol, which Morgan Stanley left last month, permits brokers moving among signatory firms to take customer-contact information to jump-start their practices at new employers.
The new Raymond James team, which was founded by Zizmer and Jones when they moved to UBS’s Winter Park branch in 2008 from Merrill Lynch in the same city, was managing $440 million for wealthy individuals and includes professional baseball players among its client constituency, Raymond James said in a news release. It is now based in Winter Park, Fla.
UBS’s Prexit decision, which the firm announced internally four days before it was to take effect, stimulated brokers managing more than $20 million in revenue to walk.
Raymond James earlier this week disclosed that James D. Sheehan, who generated $1.1 million in revenue at a UBS branch in New Jersey, joined its high-net-worth Alex. Brown division in New York City on November 30.
Zizmer began his brokerage career in 1988 at Merrill Lynch while Jones, a second-generation Merrill broker, began there in 1996, according to their BrokerCheck records. After investigating “both large and small” firms over the past year, they opted for Raymond James because of its leadership team and the “access to specialists” at the firm, Zizmer said in a prepared statement.
UBS and Morgan Stanley’s exits from the Protocol make it easier for them to sue departing brokers who allegedly take client contact information that belong to their former employers, and may serve as a deterrent to firms considering hiring their brokers, recruiters said.
Merrill Lynch and Wells Fargo Advisors to date remain in the Protocol, which may have helped eased Lin Edwards’ move last week from her former home at Merrill to Financial Network, the Wells Fargo Advisors unit for independent contractor.
Edwards, who had been with Merrill for more than 13 years, produced about $1.1 million of fees and commissions in the past 12 months and oversaw $130 million in client assets at her office in Austin, a Wells spokeswoman said.
“She sought out more flexibility to conduct her practice as she saw fit, and she also wanted ownership of her book,” said Ron Edde, a San Diego-based recruiter who assisted in the move.
Independent contractors retain as much as 90% of the revenue they produce but pay for much of their overhead, in contrast with full-time employees at large firms like Merrill who generally keep less than 50% of the but operate with more support from their employers.
Wells Fargo Financial Network pays recruiting bonuses of between 30% and 40% of brokers’ trailing-12 month production and can provide a matching loan to help with transition expenses, according to Edde.
Edwards, who has set up shop as Monarch Wealth Management in Bee Cave, Tex., did not return a call for comment. She began her licensed brokerage career in 1990 at Lehman Brothers and successor firm smith Barney, and also worked at PaineWebber, Choice Investments and Fidelity Brokerage before joining Merrill in 2004, according to BrokerCheck.