Morgan Stanley Recruits Manhattan Manager from UBS
In another sign of wirehouses’ hunger for branch management expertise at a time of significant shifts in the role, Morgan Stanley hired Michael Farrell from UBS Wealth Management USA as sub-complex manager of its midtown Manhattan group of offices.
Farrell began his career at Kidder, Peabody & Co. 25 years ago, and also worked at Prudential Securities and as a “council-level status” broker during his nine years as a broker at Smith Barney, according to the memo and his BrokerCheck history.
Farrell, who formally left UBS on May 20 and joined Morgan Stanley on Monday, is still listed as running the 1251 Avenue of the Americas branch on his former employer’s website. He will work “alongside” Morgan Stanley’s midtown Manhattan complex manager Damon Gallagher, according to Gaertner’s memo.
A UBS spokesman said he could not immediately comment on whether a replacement has been named for Farrell.
In his new role, he will work alongside managers of three Morgan Stanley “branches” located on two floors of 1290 Avenue of the Americas, said a person familiar with the new plan. Farrell will directly manage one,and oversee Joe Vacarro, manager of the “Rockefeller Center” branch on the 13th floor. Gallagher has overall responsibility for the complex, and directly manages some 95 advisors overseeing more than $21 billion in assets, according to his firm biography.
The new appointment highlights wirehouse’s continuing challenges at wirehouses in finding middle-managers, many of whom have been departing amid strategy shifts and redefinition of their roles, according to outside recruiters.
Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch and UBS in recent years have de-emphasized managers’ roles as recruiters in favor of rewarding them for such performance metrics as improving advisor retention and increasing branch sales of deposits, loans and other bank products and services to their wealthy investment clients.
The changes have led to a high exodus rate among old-time managers, and caused firms to hire outsiders and redeploy veteran managers to new regions to fill in holes.
In December, Gaernter recruited former Smith Barney Chief Operating Officer John Palazzetti from an independent firm to run another midtown Manhattan complex. One month later, Morgan Stanley promoted Ben Firestein, another longtime complex manager in Manhattan to head national recruiting, opening yet another vacancy.
The firm similarly shifted several managers in Florida in the past year, including transferring Frank Novello from heading its 1 Penn Plaza branch in midtown Manhattan to run a “subcomplex” in Boca Raton.