UBS Manager Bolts Pasadena Branch He Led for Two Decades
A veteran UBS manager who boasts on his company biography of having hired virtually every employee in the California branch he has managed for the past two decades, resigned without explanation late last week.
Donald Gorsch, who joined UBS as an assistant branch manager in 1994 and has run its Pasadena branch for 21 years, is on 60-day garden leave and expected to take on a “new challenge” in the near future, said a person familiar with his move. Reached on Friday, Gorsch declined to comment.
A person in the branch said that colleagues were taken aback by the decision, which has not been explained by senior management. The southern California branch has about 25 advisors and produced about $40 million in revenue last year for the U.S. wealth management unit of the giant Swiss bank, according to two other sources.
“It is worth noting that Donald is the longest-tenured branch manager in the same office in the greater Los Angeles area,” Gorsch writes on the branch’s web “bio,” which as of Monday continued to list him as executive director and branch manager. “Passionate about attracting and retaining a team of top talent, Donald is especially proud of the team he has assembled, having personally hired virtually every employee in the branch.”
Branch managers have been leaving UBS and competitors Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch as the wirehouses have been cutting recruiting budgets. The firms have also changed key performance metrics to focus managers on finding better ways to retain veteran advisors and their customer assets rather than permitting them to pay big bonuses to find replacements for retiring or break-away brokers.
Gorsch, who first registered as a rep in 1984 with E.F. Hutton, is also registered as working for UBS at branches in Encino and Westlake Village, according to his BrokerCheck history, which has no record of complaint disclosures.
In other UBS southern California moves, a father-son team in Bakersfield that was producing a little over $1.2 million of fees and commissions left last Wednesday to join Wells Fargo Advisors in the same city, said people familiar with their move.
Frank Colatruglio, who began his brokerage career 32 years ago with Prudential Securities and joined UBS in 2008, made the shift with a client associate and with his son Garett, who has been a registered rep for four years, according to their BrokerCheck records. The senior Colatruglio, who largely runs discretionary portfolios for clients, did not respond to a request for comment left at his new Wells office, which has eight advisors, according to its website.
Jason Singletary, UBS’s former branch manager in Bakersfield and Encino, was recently promoted to run the firm’s downtown Los Angeles branch in Century City, according to company websites and sources. He replaces Claudia Rea Lovell, who left in March to head First Republic Bank’s 17 wealth offices in southern California.
UBS’s broker ranks in the U.S. have declined to fewer than 6,300, less than half the size of Morgan Stanley, Merrill and Wells Fargo, its national competitors. UBS hired 22 experienced advisors in the first five months of this year but lost 109 in the previous six months, according to internal documents and sources at the firm, underscoring the Swiss bank’s now two-year-long strategy of pulling back from expensive recruiting.
UBS last month reorganized the management structure of several of its divisions, leading to the elimination of some sales management positions in northern California and Hawaii, among other locales.
A UBS spokesman did not respond to a request for comment on the departures of Gorsch and the Colatruglio team.