RBC Grabs Three Teams Managing $1.3 Billion, FA Skates Back to UBS
RBC Wealth Management quietly fattened its hometown forces by recruiting three teams near Minneapolis collectively managing more than $1 billion from wirehouses in the past few weeks, but UBS Financial Services has recovered a broker from the largest-producing group.
Eric Wenkus, who joined RBC two weeks ago as part of a four-broker team led by 17-year veteran John Randolph, has returned to UBS’s office in Wayzata, where he had spent the first 15 years of his career, people at both firms confirmed.
UBS lured him with a top payout offered to $5-million producers, according to one source.
Wenkus was registered with RBC in BrokerCheck as of Monday. He did not return a request for comment as to his reasons for the move. An RBC spokeswoman confirmed that the Randolph group managed “more than $504 million” as of November 30, and said Wenkus is not now part of the group.
In addition to hoping that Wenkus can retain some of his former team’s clients, UBS apparently prizes his skating skills. Wenkus, a senior vice president, was one of 12 employees who helped the Americas group win the Swiss bank’s intramural ice hockey championship, according to a social media message from Americas president Tom Naratil, earlier this year.
Once a license has transferred it’s unusual for a large firm to succeed in winning back a broker. It’s also risky proposition for both parties, according to recruiters.
“He’s now going to have a target on his back, and it raises questions about loyalty,” said Louis Diamond of Diamond Consultants in New York, who said he does not know Wenkus personally but imagines that he must be a strong producer.
“I also think they would really have to sweeten the pie to get him back because he now has the tough job of going back to clients and explaining his U-turn.”
In addition to recruiting the Randolph team, which also includes William Fee, a first vice president with 21 years of experience and Ben Leistikow with five years, RBC nailed two other wirehouse teams in recent weeks.
Also joining from UBS’s Wayzata office was Paul Koch, an advisor with 28 years of experience, who arrived at RBC Minneapolis on October 26 with 44-year industry veteran David Henrikson and three client associates. The group was managing “more than $350 million in client assets,” according to the RBC spokeswoman.
Last Thursday, RBC lured the team of Susan Franklin and Russell Lewis, which had been at Wells Fargo Advisors, and before that at Prudential Securities for each of their respective 21 and 23 years, as registered representatives. They collectively managed $429 million of client assets at Wells, the spokeswoman said. Lewis will be based in Stillwater, Minnesota, while Franklin is in Minneapolis.
RBC Wealth, a unit of Royal Bank of Canada, with about 1,800 U.S. brokers, has become an aggressive recruiter at a time when larger rivals such as UBS, Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch have retreated. It’s “all-in” package, including signing bonuses and awards for hitting asset targets in future years, can reach close to three times the fees and commissions a broker produced in the previous 12 months, according to recruiters.
Like many firms, RBC has not widely publicized recruiting wins out of UBS or Morgan Stanley for fear of provoking lawsuits against its new brokers from the two firms that have left the Protocol for Broker Recruiting. But headhunters said the firm is also opportunistic, taking advantage of broker unhappiness with UBS’s volatile compensation policies and with Wells Fargo’s ongoing reputational problems.
“RBC has a good regional culture, and its parent has a strong balance sheet,” Michael King, a New York-based recruiter, said of the Canadian bank’s U.S. wealth unit, which had its origins in Minneapolis-based Dain Rauscher. “It’s become interesting to advisors.”