Multimillion-dollar UBS Broker in Calif. Goes Independent with Wells
Wells Fargo Advisors has lured a high-producing UBS Wealth Management USA broker in Newport Beach, California, to its independent channel.
Rodriquez, a certified financial planner who ranked 15th on Forbes’ Best-In-California Wealth Advisors list in 2019 based on his 2018 asset total, declined to discuss his reason for going independent after 23 years working for wirehouses or his choice of Wells.
His UBS practice appears to have thrived, based on a press report that said he had been producing $1.4 million in production overseeing $139.1 million when he joined the firm from Merrill Lynch in late 2011.
Wells Fargo Advisors has been actively recruiting into its employee and independent channels, offering Street-high deals to both brokers and recruiters, in a continuing effort to replenish a sales force that has declined by more than 1,300 since its parent company’s fake account scandal in September 2016. While many of the newcomers are coming from smaller banks and regional firms, some wirehouse advisors have taken the pitch.
UBS lost several million dollar-plus teams in California to Wells traditional private client advisory channel in 2018, including brokers in the Los Angeles suburbs where Rodriquez works.
A spokesman for FiNet unit said he could not immediately comment on Rodriquez, and a UBS spokeswoman did not respond to requests for comment.
Wells has been promoting FiNet as a convenient back-office alternative that does not highlight its brand name to in-house advisors seeking more autonomy as well as to outsiders. A 40-employee Wells private-client-group team generating $25 million in annual revenue made the move to FiNet in October. They are based just north of Newport Beach, and some team members had worked with Rodriquez early in his career at Smith Barney.
FiNet currently has 1,323 brokers in 637 practices, according to a company website, a small part of the 13,700 brokers throughout Wells Fargo’s freestanding wealth, in-branch bank and FiNet offices.
“They are starting to see a little movement,” said Jackie Benson, a recruiter in Florida who said she has been placing more advisors in FiNet and Wells Advisors’ private client group (which was reorganized in 2018 to include bank-based brokers) as the scandal recedes.
Rodriquez spent the first nine years of his brokerage career with at Smith Barney, leaving in 2006 for Merrill Lynch and joining UBS in 2011, according to his BrokerCheck history. He has no disclosures on his record.
UBS’s broker count in the U.S. declined in the past decade by more than 1,000 to just over 6,000. It has shifted its strategy to retaining larger and slimming its recruiting budget as part of an effort to shrink more than $3 billion in forgivable recruiting loans on its balance sheet.