L.A. Broker Leaves UBS, Post-Protocol, for Alex. Brown
In what could be the first challenge UBS Financial Services has faced since withdrawing from the Protocol for Broker Recruiting last month, the Alex. Brown division of Raymond James has hired one of its brokers and his sales associate.
Andrew Hutcheson, who had been with UBS since April 2011, joined the high-net-worth client unit of Raymond James on December 20, according to his BrokerCheck history. He was joined by Audra Benge, a registered client service associate.
Hutcheson, who is listed on a UBS website as a senior portfolio manager on a five-person team in Century City called Endeavor Financial Group, said he could not comment on his reasons for leaving or on whether his former firm has challenged his efforts to contact former clients.
He is not listed on the website of Alex. Brown’s small Century City office, but Benge is. (Editor’s Note: As of late January, Hutcheson’s name appears on the website.)
Spokespeople at Raymond James and UBS did not respond to requests for comment, and Glen Titan, the senior advisor on the Endeavor team, said he could not discuss Hutcheson and Benge’s departures.
Financial advisors and recruiters have been closely watching UBS and Morgan Stanley since they left the Protocol late last year to gauge how aggressively they may interfere with brokers who try to restart their practices at new firms.
Morgan Stanley has successfully convinced courts in three cases to issue restraining orders against brokers since its early November exit from the pact, restricting their ability to contact former clients. None of the brokers had joined firms that were members of the Protocol and each appeared to have violated the agreement’s proscriptions, leading several lawyers to say they are not strong test cases for determining who owns customer data.
The pact permits brokers to take rudimentary customer-contact information with them if they move among firms that have signed the pact, but does not permit them to copy account information or remove files. UBS and Morgan Stanley’s Protocol departures followed their decision to curtail their recruiting budgets. Morgan Stanley said that it was also leaving the Protocol because smaller firms that were hiring its brokers were gaming the pact.
Since UBS left the Protocol on December 1, no experienced advisors are known to have left for other firms.
Alex. Brown, the former Deutsche Bank U.S. brokerage business that Raymond James bought in 2016 to build its profile with wealthy retail investors, hired a UBS broker in New York one day before the Swiss bank-owned broker left the Protocol. Raymond James also recruited a $3.2 million UBS team in Florida on that day to its eponymously named branch system.
Hutcheson, who worked at Edward Jones for five years before joining UBS in 2011, would not comment on his production nor on why he had opted for Alex. Brown rather than other parts of Raymond James or other firms.
Alex. Brown’s Los Angeles office is run by Gary P. Cohen, who joined from UBS’ Century City branch last summer. Cohen was not available to comment, said a person answering the phone at his office.
Cohen last month hired veteran broker Collin Rigler and sales associate Eric Montijo from RBC Wealth Management, according to the office’s website. Rigler, a 28-year industry veteran, had worked at RBC for the past 13 years and had managed its El Segundo office. He returned to production about a year ago, said a person familiar with his book.
An RBC spokeswoman confirmed that he and Montijo left, but could not immediately comment on whether he had been replaced as branch manager.