Rockefeller Signs UBS Duo in Atlanta Producing $13 Million
Rockefeller Capital Management, the expanding family office and investment bank run by former Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley executive Greg Fleming, has nabbed two of UBS Wealth Management USA’s top producers in the Southeast.
Thomas Epperson and Justin P. Ryan, who between them generated more than $13 million of fees and commissions in the past 12 months and oversaw about $2 billion of customer assets, resigned on Friday, according to people familiar with their move and their practice.
The hires give credibility to Fleming’s plans to turn the Rockefeller multi-family office into a broad wealth-management business offering advisory and money-management services, according to observers.
“It’s a very high-caliber team,” said Roger Gershman, a San Francisco-based recruiter who said he has been working with Rockefeller but did not work with Epperson and Ryan. “It says this is a true private banking, private wealth platform.”
Fleming has turned his attention to recruiting advisers after spending most of his first year at Rockefeller cementing details of a private equity infusion from Viking Global Investors filling in management ranks with former colleagues. But in August he enticed Michael Outlaw, head of Morgan Stanley’s Atlanta complex manager and southeast private banking, to run East Coast advisor recruiting for the firm.
In September, Rockefeller hired Nick Bapis and his son Michael from HighTower Advisors, its first wealth team since the firm’s makeover. The team operates from New York and Salt Lake City, and had managed $1.2 billion of assets. Nick Bapis was a legacy Morgan Stanley Dean Witter advisor before joining Hightower in late 2008.
Epperson and Ryan, who one source said moved with all their associates, did not respond to requests for comment left at their home numbers. They have five “wealth strategy” and sales associates listed on their combined and separate UBS websites.
Epperson began his brokerage career at Lehman Brothers in Atlanta in 1998 after a sales career at United States Surgical Corp., and joined UBS in the same city ten years later, according to his UBS web biography.
Ryan is a 17-year industry veteran who joined UBS in January 2009 after six years at Smith Barney and a rookie year at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette. He was on UBS’s Pinnacle Council, “which represents less than the top .01% of advisors,” according to his UBS web biography, and was a top Barron’s 1200 and Financial Times 400 advisor in 2016.
A UBS spokesman declined to comment on the departures. Robert Karem, head of UBS’s private wealth division office in Atlanta, said on Friday that he could not immediately comment.
Spokespersons for Rockefeller did not immediately return requests for comment on the hires.
Fleming, who led Morgan Stanley’s wealth business from 2010 to 2016 and was briefly president of Merrill Lynch, has been hiring wirehouse veterans to build out his management bench at the recapitalized Rockefeller since taking the reins in March this year.
-Mason Braswell contributed to this story.