High-Profile UBS Manager Joins Merrill
Merrill Lynch hired a big-name field manager from UBS Wealth Management Americas on the eve of the Independence Day holiday.Kenneth Correa, head of UBS Wealth’s home-office branches in Bergen County, New Jersey, and of its large 200 Park Avenue branch in New York City, will be joining Merrill as a market executive, according to sources at both firms. A Merrill spokesman confirmed that Correa will join following a garden leave.
Correa has won internal leadership awards at UBS, which he joined 20 years ago at the start of his wealth management career. He cochairs the firm’s Mosaic employee diversity network and has represented the firm at industry panels on the challenges of developing a next generation of financial advisors while motivating older advisors to continue producing and transferring their books.
Correa did not respond to requests for comment.
His hire is a respite from the wave of departures of top advisors that Merrill has experienced in recent weeks, and counters instability that has confronted it and other wirehouses in the past few years as they have redefined the job of branch and complex managers.
As branch priorities have changed from recruiting experienced advisors to retaining them and incentivizing them to pass their books internally at retirement, Merrill Lynch, UBS and Morgan Stanley have shifted veterans to fill strategic holes, and still have vacancies.
Correa joined UBS in 1998 as an investment associate and moved into management in 2001 as chief financial officer for the Northeast division, according to his LinkedIn page and a firm biography. He has run the firm’s Metropolitan Market since December 2017, overseeing 140 financial advisors with $25 billion in client assets.
As a complex manager in Paramus, N.J. in 2016, he was given the Edward J. Connolly Leadership Award, which his website describes as “the highest and most coveted award at UBS by a field leader as it reflects commitment to his employees and his community, integrity, performance and collaboration across the firm.”
A spokesman for UBS did not return a request for comment.
For Merrill, Correa is at least the second UBS veteran it has tapped to help manage its 14,000-plus brokers. Heather Gifford, a former UBS divisional sales manager and training head, joined Merrill on June 20 after a 60-day garden leave as associate manager for its Park Avenue Market, according to BrokerCheck and her LinkedIn profile.
Separately, two UBS financial advisors left in recent weeks to join the employee channels of Wells Fargo Advisors and Ameriprise Financial. UBS’s overall brokerage force has declined by about 90 advisors in the past quarter to 6,185, according to U.S. advisors citing their internal rankings and to a company report reviewed by AdvisorHub.
Last Friday, Michael E. Hood, who sources said produced around $700,000 in annual revenue at UBS’s Henderson, Nevada, branch, registered with Wells’ private client group, according to his BrokerCheck history and the branch’s website.
Hood, a solo practitioner, declined immediate comment on his move.
He began his brokerage career at Edward Jones in 2002 in Henderson after 25 years in law enforcement. He works with police groups and other public-employee retirement systems, according to a profile on his former UBS website. Hood joined UBS in 2011 after four years at Morgan Stanley. His client associate remains at UBS.
In Red Bank, New Jersey, Ameriprise recruited Richard Hagerty, who spent the last decade of his 20-year brokerage career with UBS. Hagerty, who joined Ameriprise on May 31, oversaw $44.6 million of customer assets, according to an Ameriprise spokeswoman.
Hagerty joined the brokerage industry in 1999 at Merrill Lynch’s Manasquan, NJ, branch, according to his BrokerCheck history. He has no disclosures on his record.
UBS this week also reorganized some of its western U.S. sales management hierarchy following a broader restructuring in May.
Las Vegas-based market manager Chuck Powers has added the firm’s branches in Boise, Billings and Missoula, Montana—as well as its Sun Valley, Idaho, branch—to his Desert Market domain, according to memos sent mid-June from West Division Director Jennifer Povlitz and Central Rockies head Craig Vandergrift.
His territory, rechristened as the Desert Mountain Market, also includes 145 financial advisors in seven branches in Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico, according to his LinkedIn page. Powers joined UBS in 2005 as a management training advisor and became Boise branch manager in 2007. He assumed the Nevada market leader post in 2016, according to the memos.
UBS is further consolidating field management by merging its Seattle and Mountain Pacific markets into a new Pacific Northwest market. It will be led by Colin Hawkes, who has been with UBS since joining its Bellevue, Wash., branch in 1999.
Brandt Westover, the former Seattle market leader, requested to step down from the regional role but will continue to run the Seattle branch, according to the memos.