UBS to Shutter Three Sales Regions, Revive Wealth Planning Position
UBS Wealth Management is reorganizing its U.S. sales organization, slimming to three from six divisions and adding more “private wealth hubs” to service brokers’ ultra-wealthy customers, according to an internal memo from Wealth Management head Jason Chandler.
As of January 1, 2020, UBS’s more than 6,000 U.S. brokers will be managed through an East division led by Bill Carroll, a Central division managed by Brad Smithy and a West division under Jennifer Povlitz, Chandler wrote in introducing the firm’s 2020 compensation plan on Tuesday. It had expanded to the six-division structure last December from four divisions.
UBS is searching for new roles for the three managers without portfolios under the new reorganization, a company spokesman said.
They are Paul Hatch, a brokerage industry veteran who joined UBS in 2014 and was most recently Northeast division director; Heather Crist, who arrived last year from Wells Fargo to run its Midwest division from Chicago; and Craig Vandegrift, who has been with UBS for 13 years and was based in Houston as director of its Central Rockies division.
“This new divisional structure will help ensure that resources and decision-making authority continue to be brought closer to our clients,” Chandler wrote, addressing a perpetual concern of brokers who fear loss of managerial support and resources.
The changes follow a summer reorganization of UBS AG’s executive ranks that included the hiring of Credit Suisse executive Iqbal Khan to cohead global wealth management with Tom Naratil, a longtime UBS and former PaineWebber official who ran the bank’s Americas unit. UBS AG CEO Sergio Ermotti said Khan would recommend changes in the global wealth organization by yearend, creating concern among some U.S. brokers of a new cost-cutting campaign.
“In response to Advisor feedback, we are announcing an increased investment in our Advisors’ ability to grow their business, including dedicating more resources to support planning, technology and the specialized competencies needed to serve high net worth and ultra high net worth clients,” Chandler wrote in the memo.
For the broad brokerage force, UBS will revive the position of “wealth planning analyst” and offer a new incentive program for “branch technology liaisons who provide critical support to our advisors,” Chandler wrote. UBS terminated the wealth planning position in March.
To encourage advisors to focus on the upper strata of client wealth, UBS is opening “private wealth service hubs” in New York, Florida, Chicago, Dallas and a co-location on the West Coast for San Francisco and Los Angeles, Chandler wrote, to support brokers “who choose to focus on serving clients with more complex needs.”
It also plans a “simpler accreditation path for aspiring Private Wealth Advisors,” the memo said.
The private wealth management business, which continues to be led by John Mathews, services clients who UBS says generally have at least $10 billion of assets, but not all advisors choose to give up less affluent clients in exchange for certain “private wealth” titles and perqs.
Bill Carroll, the new East Coast division leader, has been in the brokerage industry for 35 years, with stints at First Jersey Securities, Merrill Lynch and Smith Barney before joining UBS in 2003. For the past year, he served as head of the firm’s New York metro division.
Povlitz, the West Coast division head, joined UBS four years ago after a 27-year career with Merrill Lynch. She vaulted to running the division last December after managing a southern California complex, and helped reorganize its branch structure in May.
Smithy, the new Chicago-based Central division boss, earned his spurs at UBS managing branch complexes in Florida, and was promoted to run the Southeast Division in 2016. He joined UBS in 2009 following a 15-year career at Merrill Lynch.
—Mason Braswell contributed to this story.