UBS Recruits $13 Million Bernstein Private Wealth Team in Texas
UBS Wealth Management USA underscored its revived appetite for selective recruiting by hiring a three-broker team from Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. in Dallas who were producing about $13 million.
The advisors, who collectively had been with Bernstein for 42 years, did not respond to requests for comment on their decision. Baumgarten and Jones each began their brokerage careers at Bernstein, a unit of asset management firm AllianceBernstein L.P., in 2007. Dowell joined the firm in 2004 after more than six years at Fidelity Investments.
Bernstein generally compensates brokers with salaries and end-of-year bonuses, as is typical of traditional private banks. UBS, which for the past three years has been on a recruiting diet, pays advisors a percentage of the fees and commissions they collect from clients, as is typical of brokerage firms.
UBS’s U.S. brokerage force has fallen by almost a third to under 6,000 over the past decade, reflecting a drive to decrease the growth of forgivable recruiting loans depressing its Swiss bank parent’s balance sheet. The firm reported 6,496 brokers across the Americas as of March 31, but the U.S. total that would rank UBS as the smallest of the national “wirehouse” firms was based on internal numbers cited by several UBS sources.
But executives at the firm’s Swiss banking parent expressed their commitment to growing the U.S. business earlier this year, as forgivable loan balances declined by 11% in 2019. Recruiters have said that UBS has been knocking on more doors in recent months with offers that for top producers can approach double their trailing-12-month production, though the formula may differ for emigrants from firms with private-bank structures such as Bernstein.
UBS in January lured a $16.7-million team in North Carolina servicing wealthy clients at Merrill Lynch. Last month, it hired Justin Low, who was producing $1.4 million at a Morgan Stanley branch in Phoenix.
Dowell, who began his Bernstein career in 2004 as a director of wealth planning and analysis, specializes in corporate retirement plans, according to the UBS announcement of the team’s arrival. His clients have included Microsoft, Ford Motor, Hewlett-Packard, Amgen and Verizon Communications, it said.
Baumgarten worked in senior positions in private manufacturing and distribution companies before becoming a broker 13 years ago, while Jones worked his way up from an associate and wealth planner to become an advisor with Bernstein in 2012, according to the internal announcement.
When social distancing restrictions fall, the brokers will be based at UBS’ 100 Crescent Court branch in Dallas, which is managed by Robert Giordano.
A spokesperson at AllianceBernstein, a unit of Equitable Holdings, Inc., declined to comment on the trio’s departure.
In an earnings call in February, AllianceBernstein President and Chief Executive Seth Bernstein said he hoped to expand the private wealth business’s broker count by 5% this year after a 6% increase in 2019. The firm, which has 19 U.S. wealth offices, does not disclose its broker headcount.