Fired UBS Broker with Pro Athlete Specialty Sets Up Advisory Firm
A former UBS Financial Services broker who was terminated last summer for allegedly making incomplete disclosures to firm attorneys about a client trip, has started a registered investment advisory firm in Atlanta.Bruce D. Smith, who had led a four-person UBS team in the city called The Sports Consulting Group, is attempting to replicate his practice through his new firm, The Sports Advisory Group. Smith, who began his brokerage career in 1991 with UBS predecessor PaineWebber, registered as an investment adviser early this month, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Smith, who is no longer registered as a broker, did not return a call for comment.
His shift to independence shows the many avenues that advisors can tread after run-ins with conventional firms. In May, UBS’s top-ranked Ohio broker, Craig Findley, who had been overseeing over $1 billion in assets, formed an independent wealth shop after being terminated the previous month.
Smith was fired last August after “admitting making incomplete disclosures of material information to firm attorneys regarding circumstances related to client trip, in connection with SEC inquiry in which FA was questioned as a witness,” according to BrokerCheck.
His team, which has dissolved, had been managing $151 million in client assets, according to an internal UBS report reviewed by AdvisorHub.
Ronnie G. Brown, a former National Football League Pro Bowl running back, said he and the two other members of Smith’s team left UBS in February to join Wells Fargo Advisors, where they are partnering with another practice that focuses on professional athletes.
Smith, who worked at UBS and predecessor firms for about 15 years, also did as stint at Merrill Lynch in Atlanta from mid-2008 to January 2012, according to his BrokerCheck history.
Aside from his termination, he has only one mark on his record—a 2012 customer claim for $2 million that alleged unsuitable investment recommendations and omission of material facts on a sold-away investment. The claim was settled for $666,000, and Smith wrote on BrokerCheck that the customer’s former college football coach, not he, promoted the investment. He also noted that he did not contribute to the settlement.
Smith’s former Instagram page, now taken down, featured photos of him with sports figures who he said were clients, including Boston Celtics point guard Terry Rozier and Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Allen Hurns.