Morgan Stanley Sweeps in UBS Brokers and Manager in Upstate New York
Morgan Stanley is continuing to satisfy its revived recruiting appetite with advisors and managers from UBS Wealth Management USA.The latest incursion occurred at a small UBS branch in Williamsville, NY, near Buffalo, which lost a $2.25 million broker and his client associate, another 27-year UBS broker and the branch’s manager in early October. At the same time, UBS has forced out its producing manager in Buffalo, who also had oversight of the Williamsville branch, according to people familiar with the changes.
The moves between the brokerage giants that each left the Protocol for Broker Recruiting two years ago come as Morgan Stanley has reversed its hiring pullback and has hired veteran multi-million-dollar UBS teams in Texas and Ohio in recent weeks. UBS has sued several of the Ohio brokers, accusing one of having spent the previous year auctioning off the branch that he also managed to the highest bidder.
The upstate New York moves were led by Timothy W. McNamara, a 41-year industry veteran who joined UBS in 2011 after 33 years with Merrill Lynch, and a client associate, Michele M. Mundie. They left for Morgan Stanley’s Williamsville branch on October 4, according to BrokerCheck registration records.
McNamara also works from Cape Coral, Florida, according to his registration history and to a person familiar with the practice who sized it as generating the $2.25 million in annual revenue. He did not return a request for comment, and Mundie declined to comment.
Joining them at the Morgan Stanley branch in Williamsville was James F. Joseph, who left UBS the same day, according to his BrokerCheck history. He spent all but the rookie month of his 27-year career at UBS, according to BrokerCheck. Joseph produced around $750,000 in the past year as a sole practitioner, but shared some clients with McNamara, the source said. McNamara did not return a call for comment.
A Morgan Stanley spokeswoman confirmed the hires but declined to discuss their production numbers. The firm also hired UBS’s Williamsville branch manager, Russell O. Gentner, to run the Morgan Stanley branch in the city. Gentner began his brokerage career six years ago at UBS, serving as a trade specialist and as administrative manager for branches in Vermont before taking the branch post, according to his UBS biography.
At Morgan Stanley, he replaced Michele Holbrook, who is working on a team full time as a producer, according to her LinkedIn and Morgan Stanley profiles. She and Gentner did not return calls for comment.
The website for UBS’s Williamsville branch lists five teams, including McNamara’s, and eight brokers.
UBS also has a management hole in Buffalo. Jonathan “Jay” Berube, a producing manager whose BrokerCheck record says he also has office registrations in Williamsville and Jamestown, NY, left the firm earlier this week, according to a person answering the phone at the Buffalo branch.
A person who claimed familiarity with his departure said he appears to have shared some private information about some of a departing brokers’ accounts with other producers in violation of firm policy. Berube, who had been with UBS for more than half of his 29-year brokerage career, including a stint as a Boston branch manager, could not be reached for comment.
Spokespeople at UBS did not return a request for comment on the moves.
UBS’s brokerage force has declined since its exit from the Protocol. It ended the third quarter with 6,627 brokers in the Americas (including small forces in Canada and Latin America), down by 283 from 12 months earlier. (Morgan Stanley had 15,553 brokers as of September 30, down 102 from a year earlier. The firm had all but frozen recruiting of experienced brokers concurrent with its departure from the Protocol, but earlier this year told managers to selectively fill seats with larger producers.)
UBS Global Wealth co-head Tom Naratil told Reuters last week that its Americas wealth business could double profit within ten years by focusing more sharply on servicing super-rich investors.
“Even if our total adviser count in the U.S. drops below 6,000, it would be a group of advisers who are twice as productive as they are today, measured in revenue per adviser,” Naratil said. “If we get that kind of profile, then in five to ten years from now we’ll have a business that could probably makes twice as much as we do today.”