UBS Duo in Atlanta Producing $3.5-Mln-Plus Move to JPMorgan
The doors at UBS branches have been revolving with unusual frequency in recent weeks, as the once-reluctant recruiter has hired three teams with $5.1 million of collective production while losing at least four with around $16.5 million.
In a previously unreported move, J.P. Morgan Securities hired Atlanta brokers David Kritzer, Christopher Castellaw and three client associates on February 1. The brokers generated between $3.5 million and $4.2 million in client revenue in the previous 12 months, with the lower number coming from UBS sources and the higher from those at J.P. Morgan.
Reached at his Atlanta office, Kritzer declined to comment.
He and Castellaw have a combined 43 years of experience, and have traveled parallel paths since each joined Deutsche Bank Alex. Brown in 2000, according to their BrokerCheck records. They hopped to UBS in late 2008 before their recent exodus to J.P. Morgan. Kritzer began his brokerage career in 1994 at PaineWebber while Castellaw spent his rookie year in 1999 with Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Securities.
For UBS, their departure was sandwiched between those of a $2 million adviser in Newport Beach, Calif., to First Republic at the end of January and the exit of a three-adviser team in Cincinnati producing around $6 million to Stifel on February 13. In addition a six-advisor team in Birmingham, Mich., producing about $4.5 million left UBS to join Raymond James’ employee channel in that city on the same day as Kritzer and Castellaw.
UBS managers, however, appear to be responding to a new effort by the firm to rev up long-dormant recruiting strategies.
The firm’s U.S. brokerage force fell by about 285 to 6,320 in 2018, according to several brokers who gauged the fall by reviewing their peer performance numbers. (The firm’s Swiss parent said its Americas wealth business ended last year with 6,850 brokers, but the total includes those in other parts of the Americas as well as in the U.S.)
“I wanted to give a quick update on recent recruiting successes we have seen across the country,” Michael McVicker, the firm’s head of business and change management, wrote in a memo to branch managers last week about three sets of advisors who joined on February 15.
In Boston, he congratulated local managers for signing up Craig Lewis and Robert M. Ryan, Morgan Stanley brokers who produced $3.5 million on $530 million of client assets.
In Norfolk, Va., he nodded to local recruiters who brought over Merrill Lynch advisors John Searing and Tom Dickson, who collectively produced $1.3 million on $200 million of client assets. And in Honolulu, McVicker cheered the arrival from Morgan Stanley of Todd Iacovelli, who had produced $341,000 over the previous 12 months on $84 million in client assets.
UBS in mid-2016 became the first of the big brokerage firms operating in the U.S. to slash recruiting budgets and instruct managers to improve retention of experienced brokers and forego hiring all but top producers.
In late 2017, it sent shivers through the recruiting world and irked some of its brokerage force by pulling out of the Protocol for Broker Recruiting. It subsequently attempted to prohibit brokers who accepted performance bonuses from contacting customers for a year if they left for another firm. After an outcry from brokers, it subsequently modified the prohibition.
A UBS spokesman declined to comment on arrivals, departures or strategy changes, and McVicker—while tipping his hat to successful hiring managers at the branches—remained cautious about far UBS is willing to stretch its hiring budgets.
“As we selectively recruit only the best advisors in the industry it is gratifying to see that these new teams share our view of UBS as the best firm to join, grow and retire from,” he wrote. “We will continue to update you on different additions when they occur.”
A spokeswoman at J.P. Morgan, whose veteran U.S. brokerage executive Barry Sommers left the bank last month, did not comment on the hires in Atlanta or the bank’s broader recruiting plans. It currently employs about 500 brokers in addition to more 2,500 private bankers and bank-branch-housed wealth advisors.