UBS Hires from Merrill, Morgan Stanley, Loses Ohio Vet to RayJay
In wirehouses’ on-and-off efforts to fill desks emptied by their drawn-out hiring cutbacks, UBS Wealth Management USA has made an incremental gain in recent weeks by hiring solo million-dollar producers from Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley while losing a producing branch manager to the employee channel of Raymond James.
At Merrill, Malatos worked on the sprawling Atlanta-based “Global Corporate and Institutional Advisory Services” team led by James Wallace and Deborah Howard that handles some $72 billion of retirement plan and executive stock benefits for major corporations. He followed another group of junior advisors on the team who made the same trek to UBS in October—Daniel and Scott Emerson and Angelo Esposito, Jr.—in an effort to develop full-credit wealth practices with plan participants
Malatos, who had spent all of his seven-year brokerage career at Merrill, did not respond to a request for comment.
On the West Coast, UBS reached into Morgan Stanley to hire Nicholas Villasenor, a Forbes- ranked best-in-state broker in Newport Beach, Calif., who generated $2.2 million in fees and commissions on $383 million in client assets in the last year at his former firm, according to a UBS spokesman.
Villasenor, who joined UBS four weeks ago, had worked at Morgan Stanley and predecessor Smith Barney for 14 years, according to his BrokerCheck history. He did not respond to a request for comment on the motivations for his move.
On the loss side of UBS’s broker-count ledger, Steven LeClair, who had worked for more than 16 years at the firm, joined Raymond James Financial’s employee channel with two client associates at the end of October. Ranked #96 in Forbes’ Best-In-Ohio list this year, LeClair oversaw $227 million in client assets and generated $1.8 million in production, according to a person familiar with his practice.
LeClair, a certified financial planner, spent most of his career in Ohio but most recently was working as a producing manager in UBS’s Palo Alto, Calif., branch in Silicon Valley, according to his UBS web biography and people familiar with his practice. At Raymond James, he has moved back to Upper Arlington, Ohio, near Columbus.
The UBS Wealth moves comes amid a steady drain of advisors, which the Swiss-bank-owned brokerage firm has been trying to counter with messages to branch managers that it remains the “firm of choice for quality FAs.”
UBS as of September 30 employed 6,627 brokers in the U.S., Canada and Latin America—a net loss of 62 during the third quarter and of 283 from a year earlier—but brokers citing internal numbers said its U.S. workforce has fallen to around 6,100. That compares with more than 14,000 at rival wirehouses Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch and Wells Fargo Advisors.
UBS on Tuesday unveiled a field-management reorganization that eliminated the positions of three division directors and several complex and branch managers. It also disclosed its 2020 compensation plan, which raises grid thresholds across all production levels in a move that some headhunters and insiders said could provoke more departures.