UBS Hires Schwab “Private Client” Broker in Indiana
UBS Wealth Management USA has ushered in the new year with a hire from discount brokerage pioneer Charles Schwab’s private client group.
UBS over the past three years has trimmed its recruiting budget, adopting a strategy of selectively hiring substantial producers but concentrating on retaining existing advisors with longevity bonuses and other incentives. While the firm’s executives say they target million-dollar-and-above producers, several U.S. brokers said a significant number of their colleagues are in the $700,000-$1 million range.
Guerra’s hire conforms with the strategy because she was a senior advisor to the upper stratum of Schwab’s clients, managing accounts of $2 million and higher, said a person familiar with her practice. The stated investment minimum within Schwab’s private client group is $500,000, with an annual advisory account fee of 80 basis points that scales down at higher asset levels, according to the unit’s website.
Guerra did not respond to requests for comment, and a UBS spokeswoman declined to comment on her production. DeSantis, who began his brokerage career at A.G. Edwards in 1996 and spent nine years at Merrill Lynch before joining UBS in December 2008, declined to comment.
UBS Wealth Management as of September 30, 2019 employed 6,627 brokers in the U.S., Latin America and Canada —down 283 from a year earlier. In the U.S. alone, it now employs around 6,100, according to several insiders, a total that is less than half of the sales forces at rivals Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch and Wells Fargo Advisors.
Guerra, a certified financial planner, specializes in investment and retirement income planning, charitable giving and education planning, according to the press announcement. She reports to Kristin Popovic, who became manager of the 72-employee Indianapolis branch in May.
UBS last month reorganized its branch management structure, eliminating three divisions along with the positions of their directors and of several complex and branch managers. It also raised grid thresholds for its brokers—requiring many of them to produce more to match their 2019 payout levels. Globally, UBS Wealth Management is undergoing a broad reorganization that could lead to 500 job cuts, Bloomberg News reported on Tuesday.
Schwab, for its part, has become more aggressive in pursuing departing brokers it suspects of soliciting clients by asking courts for restraining orders and injunctions.
The San Francisco, California-based brokerage firm has filed at least five such lawsuits in the past six months, arguing that its brokers rely much more heavily on internal referrals and parent-firm marketing than do brokers at conventional firms.
A Schwab spokesman did not return a request for comment on Guerra’s departure.