Big UBS Producer Eased Out Two Weeks Ago Lands at Stifel
(Updated Nov. 8 in the fifth paragraph with additional details of Cohen’s termination from BrokerCheck.)
A UBS Financial Services broker who left his Garden City, New York, branch abruptly two weeks ago has found a new home.
Robert D. Cohen joined Stifel Financial’s Stifel Nicolaus broker-dealer on Friday, the St. Louis-based firm’s recruiting head John Pierce confirmed. Cohen had been managing $712 million in assets and produced around $6 million in the previous 12 months.
The departure of the 35-year career broker, who had been at the UBS office in Long Island for almost 10 years, was prompted by compliance concerns that some colleagues said represent a reluctantly hard-line attitude that many firms are now taking to lapses even from large producers.
Cohen helped an assistant buy a car and reported his financial assistance to a manager, but the manager failed to follow up properly with higher-ups, said a person familiar with the story who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Cohen, whose BrokerCheck record says UBS terminated him for “providing monetary benefits” to an employee and for misleading firm investigators about it, declined to comment. A spokesman for UBS did not immediately return a request for comment.
Cohen worked at Morgan Stanley for 18 years in Jericho, NY, before joining UBS’s Garden City branch in 2008, according to his BrokerCheck history. He began his brokerage career in 1983 at Butcher & Singer.
Brokers and firms offer engage in long negotiations over the language portraying departures that firm must file with regulators. The process, obviously painful and costly to brokers, also is difficult for large firms such as UBS. It has been focusing on compensation aimed at retaining veteran brokers at a time when it has cut recruiting budgets but it also is increasingly sensitive to regulatory missteps, said industry lawyers.
In May, Morgan Stanley bid adieu to two brokers who were overseeing some $1 billion in client assets because of financial support they had given to a staffer, according to their BrokerCheck records. Morgan Stanley’s U-5 for the brokers said they were permitted to resign.
Cohen’s BrokerCheck record discloses three customer complaints from mid-2008 through the end of 2010, one of which involved the industry-wide auction-rate securities collapse during the financial crisis and another that was settled well below the customer’s damages request.
UBS’s headcount has been declining since it slashed its recruiting budget by 40% in 2016. The firm had around 6,900 brokers at the end of the second quarter, which includes a small contingent of producers in Latin America.
Stifel had 2,267 brokers at the end of the second quarter. The company boosted its recruiting offers by restoring back-end bonuses in recent months after the collapse of the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule that would have prohibited such payments.