UBS Hires $391-Million-Asset Private Wealth Broker from Merrill
In an increasingly rare move as wirehouses cut recruiting budgets, UBS Wealth Management USA has hired a Merrill Lynch broker who was overseeing $391 million for very wealthy clients, according to the Swiss-bank-owned firm.
Michele McCallion, who had spent the past 20 years of her 31-year career at Merrill, joined UBS on Tuesday, according to her BrokerCheck record. In a news release, UBS said it is allowing her to work from its midtown Manhattan private wealth management office as well as from an office in Greenwich, Connecticut.
Executives at UBS and Merrill in the past few years have said they are focusing on retaining veterans through incentives and other awards rather than making expensive forgivable loan agreements to recruit. But both firms have experienced declines in their brokerage forces.
UBS, which began slashing its recruiting budget in 2016, withdrew from the Protocol for Broker Recruiting in late 2017 and has hired fewer than two dozen brokers in the first half of this year. McCallion’s arrival indicates, however, that it is making exceptions for advisors who are likely to bring substantial assets with them.
UBS AG’s Chief Financial Officer Kirt Gardner last month acknowledged that the Swiss bank was troubled by a decline in new client money at its U.S. wealth unit. “We are focused on improving this metric,” he said on an earnings call.
McCallion, who worked in Merrill’s Private Wealth Management unit (formerly the Private Banking and Investment Group) for very wealthy investors, spent 20 years of her 31-year brokerage career with Merrill, according to her BrokerCheck history. Her practice focuses on wealthy families and on advising entrepreneurs and executives of public companies on managing their concentrated stock positions, the UBS release said.
She ranked ranked #97 among Connecticut advisors on Forbes’ “Best in State” advisor list published earlier this year. She works with clients who have a typical net worth of at least $10 million, according to “Working Mother” magazine’s “Top Wealth Advisor Mom”’s list, which ranked her as 179 out of 300 last year.
A Boston College graduate with an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School, she first registered as a broker in 1984 at S.B. Cantor & Co., and worked briefly at Walsh, Greenwood & Co. After a three year-hiatus, she joined Goldman, Sachs for almost a nine-year stint before arriving at Merrill Lynch in July 1999, according to her BrokerCheck record. The database has no disclosures of client, regulatory or legal complaints against her.
McCallion’s Merrill website lists two teammates—Stefano Fava, a vice president and private wealth relationship manager, and private wealth associate Deborah Corbi. A woman answering Corbi’s Merrill phone said she had also moved to UBS. Fava, reached at his Merrill office on Wednesday morning, declined to comment on his plans.
—Vicky Ge Huang contributed to this story.