Wells Nabs Two UBS Teams Producing $11 Million
(Updates with corrected production number in headline and in eighth paragraph.)
UBS Wealth Management USA lost two more sizable teams this week, with Wells Fargo Advisors signing one that was managing $1.6 billion of client assets to its independent channel and another overseeing about $225 million to its private client employee unit.
The Freeman team, which includes at least four client service and wealth management associates, are reuniting with Greg Spears, a former UBS advisor who left to become Wells Fargo Advisors’ Kansas market manager in 2015. Spears, a 32-year brokerage veteran, is now working full-time as chief operating officer of the new ventures, FCS Private Wealth Management and FCS Family Office, according to his LinkedIn profile.
In addition to Freeman, the FCS advisors include Ted Chartier, who was a senior vice president at UBS, Matt Sayers, a UBS Vice President and Susan Lynn Freeman, who was an account vice president at UBS.
Tom Freeman, a former Notre Dame and Kansas City Chiefs lineman, ranked #2 on Forbes 2020 list of Best-in-State Kansas advisors (Chartier was #24), which said the UBS team had a $25-million minimum account opening size.
Freeman, who worked at Merrill Lynch for the first 13 years of his brokerage career and at UBS since 2002, qualified as a family office consultant at UBS, advising “14 families well beyond their investment needs,” according to his UBS web biography. He could not be reached for comment.
In Santa Barbara, California, Wells Fargo on Wednesday settled 23-year UBS Wealth veteran Joanne Gordon to its employee channel, according to her BrokerCheck history, along with two client associates.
Gordon in the previous 12 months generated $1.2 million of fees and commissions on $205 million of client assets, according to a Wells Fargo spokesperson. Her client accounts range between $750,000 and $2 million, according to her ranking on Forbes’ 2020 Top Women Advisors list (she was #790).
Gordon, who began her brokerage career in 1986 at E.F. Hutton and worked as an independent advisor for five years before joining UBS in 1997, did not return a request for comment.
The departures are at least the fourth group of UBS producers to have left in the past month for Wells, despite the challenges of moving during the coronavirus crisis. A $7.5-million quarter of advisors joined Wells’ employee channel in McClean, Va. last month and a $500,000 producer made the jump this month in Tacoma, Wash.
Wells has been offering premium signing packages and fees to experienced advisors and headhunters in an effort to replace some 1,500 advisors who left in the wake of the fake-account scandals that its parent bank disclosed almost four years ago. It employs more than 12,000 brokers in Wells Advisors brokerage offices, bank branches and private wealth offices.
UBS’s U.S. broker count has dwindled to below 6,000 from about 8,700 ten years ago as it withdrew from aggressive recruiting of veteran advisors. It has outlined a strategy of retaining advisors such as Freeman who focus on very wealthy investors, but last month hired a $13 million-team of private bankers in Dallas from Sanford Bernstein in a new effort to replenish its forces.
UBS earlier this month sued a Houston broker who joined Morgan Stanley for allegedly violating her employment contracts by soliciting her former clients, and is seeking damages from an Ohio team that also has joined Morgan Stanley.
A UBS spokeswoman said she could not immediately comment on this week’s departures to Wells Fargo.
—Mason Braswell contributed to this story