UBS Sacks Top Broker Craig Findley–Sources
(Updates with data on Findley’s direct assets under management of $1.097 billion.)
UBS has dismissed a prominent advisor who led a three-state team of brokers overseeing more than $6 billion of client assets, according to current and former advisors familiar with the fast-growing practice and to people at one of the Toledo, Ohio-area branches that he managed.
Craig D. Findley, who vaulted to fourth in Barron’s 2019 ranking of top Ohio brokers from 23rd in 2018, as his team’s assets tripled, left the firm along with an assistant last week after an internal investigation, they said. The sources said they did not know the cause of his dismissal.
Findley, 49, was touted by UBS as a production paragon in a practice that ranged from advising high net worth individuals to “institutional” retirement plan clients. In September, Jason Chandler, now head of UBS’s force of almost 6,300 U.S. brokers, interviewed Findley and a Merrill PBIG broker at a Barron’s Top 100 session titled “Fast Forward” at The Breakers Palm Beach resort.
Findley until recently was co-chair of UBS Wealth Management USA’s FAAC (Financial Advisor Advisory Committee), an honor accorded to top brokers who represent the field’s views to management, according to his team biography.
The “Financial Times” listed Findley this week as one of 14 brokers in Ohio who qualified for its FT 400 Top Financial Advisers poll, and his UBS biography says he had been a “Barron’s” Top 1200 advisor for eight of the last nine years. “He also pioneered the development and implementation of the first totally integrated benefits solution in the industry,” the biography said.
A UBS spokesman did not respond to requests to confirm the reports of his dismissal.
Several calls to Findley over the past two weeks were not returned, and advisors at the team’s offices in Sylvania, Ohio, Bonita Springs, Fla., Fort Myers, Fla. and New York City either declined to comment or did not return messages left with people answering their phones.
Findley and his partner Kenneth J. Wise joined UBS in December 2011 after seven-and-a-half years with Merrill Lynch and a decade at Smith Barney, according to their BrokerCheck records. They were producing about $6.3 million on more than $800 million of client assets at Merrill, UBS said when it announced their arrival and that of Brian Funkhouser, the team’s retirement plan consulting manager.
The Findley-Wise Wealth Management Group expanded through a series of agreements with other UBS teams to include 36 people and 19 advisors, and late last year rebranded itself as Touchstone Wealth Partners. According to “Barron’s” 2019 rankings, Touchstone’s assets have expanded to $6.1 billion among 1,765 household accounts from $2.0 billion in its 2018 ranking and from $1.55 billion in 2016.
Findley himself was responsible for $1.097 billion of the team’s assets from 1,069 “marketing households,” according to an internal UBS accounting of assets retained and lost from recently discharged brokers that was reviewed by AdvisorHub.
Touchstone’s multi-page website is anchored by a video in which Finley emphasizes the team’s multi-generational employment of advisors. They range in age from their 20s through their 70s “to make sure that we can relate to our clients,” he says.
In November, Touchstone donated $2.5 million to help construct a ProMedica hospital extension in Toledo, a gift that won it naming rights to the main lobby.
“These are people who make things happen,” ProMedica CEO Randy Oostra said in a local newspaper article about the donation. A spokeswoman for the healthcare company said executives had no comment on Findley’s departure.
Findley’s father is the founder of a human resources and employee benefits consulting firm with offices throughout the Midwest and Southeast.
-Mason Braswell contributed to this story.