UBS Hires $3.1 Million Merrill Duo in Colorado, Wells Attracts Merrill L.A. Broker
Another team of Merrill Lynch veterans left to join a competing wirehouse last week, hoping to bring to UBS Wealth Management the $413 million of client assets they built over 18 years at Merrill.
Joseph Lembeck and Matthew Johnson, who joined Merrill in Denver from First Union Securities in 2002, jumped to UBS in the same city last week. Lembeck produced $1.7 million of fees and commissions for Merrill in the previous 12 months, and Johnson generated $1.4 million, said a person familiar with their business.
Lembeck and Johnson together generated $3.1 million in annual revenue for Merrill in the previous year, according to two people familiar with the move. The UBS branch they joined is run by Mitchell Markley, who joined UBS in April from Morgan Stanley, according to his BrokerCheck record.
The moves extend a stream of exits of veteran brokers from Merrill, and give further evidence of its wirehouse competitors’ assertions that they are back into active recruiting after years of retrenchment and in spite of the complexities of moving books amid the social distance restrictions of Covid-19.
Johnson personally produced $1.4 million at Merrill last year, and Lembeck $1.7 million, said one source familiar with their books. The advisors did not return a request for comment on the motivation for their move, and on how they overcame concerns about the challenges of attracting former customers without the protection of the Protocol for Broker Recruiting. (Merrill belongs to the pact, which allows brokers joining other signatory firms to bring client contact information with them. UBS dropped out of the Protocol at the end of 2017.)
Family ties, however, may have helped UBS attract the pair. Mark J. Lembeck, Joseph’s younger brother, has spent his 25-year career with UBS in Denver, according to BrokerCheck. (Mark Lembeck was not available to comment, said a person answering his phone at the The Nissim Lembeck Group.)
In California, Lombino moved to Wells’s 20-advisor office in Westlake Village, near his Calabasas home where he garages more than half a dozen sports cars, said a person familiar with his lifestyle. Lombino, who has worked in Beverly Hills for Merrill and Morgan Stanley for 15 years, according to his BrokerCheck record, did not return a call for comment.
Merrill got walking papers earlier this week from a 43-year firm veteran in Oregon with a $400 million book who started an independent advisory practice. To offset client attrition, the wirehouse has authorized branch managers to offer up to a year of free accounts to clients of some departing brokers.
Spokespeople at Merrill did not immediately respond to requests for comments on the latest moves.