UBS Team in California Takes the Bid from Wells Advisors
Another team of UBS Financial Services brokers has jumped to Wells Fargo Advisors, this time in Newport Beach, California.
Thomas P. Kirwan and his junior partner Michael Brooks Townsend joined Wells last week. They managed a combined $193 million in client assets and generated $1.5 million in annual revenue, said Wells spokeswoman Helen Bow.
A source familiar with their decision said they felt that Wells could better serve the heavy banking needs of some of their clients than could UBS—overriding any concerns about the fake account scandals haunting the broker-dealer’s sister bank.
Kirwan, who has 30 years of industry experience, according to BrokerCheck, did not return a call for comment.
In an attempt to offset the large number of brokers who have left Wells Fargo Advisors since the scandal broker in late 2017, the firm has offered recruiters a premium 10% of a brokers’ trailing-12 month production for any broker hired into its sales channels. Headhunters in the retail brokerage industry typically receive 6%. The premium deal applies only to candidates hired by September 30.
The Kirwan team used a third-party recruiter, but Wells declined to discuss the success of the program.
In May, Wells hired brokers from a UBS office near Chicago who collectively managed $516 million. That followed its April addition of two UBS teams in California that included former Palo Alto producing branch manager Susanna Kim Bracke, who joined Wells in Los Angeles as a producer, and Gary and Nancy Sampson, who generated around $2 million in revenue for UBS in Bakersfield.
UBS Wealth Management USA spokeswoman Maya Dillon did not return a request for comment.
Kirwan, who had worked at UBS since 2008, joined from Mercer Allied, the broker-dealer affiliate of Goldman Sachs’s AYCO unit that offers financial planning corporate programs. He began his brokerage career at L.F. Rothschild, Unterberg, Towbin in 1979 but was not registered as a securities representative for eight years before joining the Ayco unit in 1993, according to BrokerCheck.
Townsend, who the Wells spokeswoman said oversaw $19 million of the $193 million the team managed at UBS, first registered with Finra in January 2011, when he joined Mercer Allied. He registered with UBS in 2015, according to BrokerCheck.
Wells, to be sure, continues to suffer departures. Vincent Lovoy, Adam MacDonald and Todd Halbrook, who produced around $6 million and managed some $850 million in client assets, left last month to join First Republic Bank’s expanding wealth management unit.
Wells Fargo’s brokerage force of 14,300 has shrunk by more than 600 since its parent bank disclosed the fake checking and credit card account scandal in September 2016.