Wirehouse Wars: $4 Million of Production Changes Hands
The million-dollar wirehouse carousel continues to spin. Wells Fargo Advisors in the past week lured a 24-year Merrill Lynch veteran in Texas and a ten-year UBS advisor in California, while UBS reached into regional Raymond James for a high-net-worth team in New York.
Wells, which continues to offer premium recruiting deals to brokers generating $500,000 or higher, last Wednesday welcomed Daren Dahmer to its 30-broker Post Oak/Galleria branch in Houston.
Dahmer, a certified financial planner whose LinkedIn page says he works with “private business owners, corporate employees and independent women,” did not respond to a request for comment on his move from one bank-owned wirehouse to another.
In San Francisco on Friday, Wells hired Craig Isaacson, another solo producer who had been with UBS for a decade after almost 18 years with Merrill. A vice president at UBS, Isaacson generated a little over $1 million in the past 12 months on about $119 million, according to a person familiar with his practice, but his LinkedIn profile says he was a Merrill Chairman’s Club producer for 12 years.
Isaacson, who served in the Navy as a surface warfare officer before joining Merrill’s training program in 1992, according to the social media profile, declined to immediately comment on his move.
A Wells Fargo spokeswoman confirmed the hires. The company’s brokerage force fell 4% to 13,298 over the past year, down more than 1,500 since the San Francisco-based company disclosed almost four years ago that quota-driven employees had opened fake banking accounts.
Wells has tried to fill empty seats with recruiting deals that can be three times a top broker’s annual production, according to recruiters, and recently named J.P. Morgan and Bear Stearns brokerage veteran Barry Sommers to head its wealth and investment management division.
UBS, for its part, hired three brokers in Westport, Conn., on Friday.
David B. Rosenthal, Stephen C. Collins and Daniel Rupp were producing $2.2 million for Raymond James’ Alex. Brown division on $1.05 billion of client assets, according to a person familiar with their book.
In a welcoming memo, UBS’s “Soundview” market head Mara Glassel said the team operates a “global business servicing university endowments, nonprofit organizations, insurance companies and high net worth families who benefit from an ‘institutional’ approach to the management of their wealth.”
Rupp, the junior partner who first registered to sell investments in 2015 at J.P. Morgan Securities, said he was not authorized to comment.
Rosenthal and Collins, who began their brokerage careers 23 and 24 years ago at Smith Barney and Sands Brothers, respectively, did not respond to requests for comment.
Rosenthal worked at Fieldpoint Private Securities for three years before jumping in 2014 to Deutsche Bank Securities. In 2016, Raymond James bought the German bank’s U.S. wealth business, rebranding it as Alex. Brown.
Collins has had a peripatetic career at eight firms prior to his arrival at Alex. Brown in 2016 from Citigroup Global Markets, according to his BrokerCheck history.
Raymond James executives in recruiting pitches promote a broker-centric culture that they contrast to that of wirehouses. It includes telling brokers that it respects their freedom to move to other firms without fear of lawsuits.
The firm had 8,155 advisors as of June 30, 58% of whom are independent brokers. Headcount over the previous year grew by 5%.
UBS’s U.S. broker headcount dipped below 6,000 as of the end of the second quarter, down about 268 from a year earlier, according to insiders.
The Swiss bank-owned brokerage firm, which is in the process of moving its approximately 50 U.S. private bankers into its broader Wealth Americas brokerage force, has selectively recruited advisors amid a broader philosophy of retaining rather than hiring veterans. In May, it attracted a three-broker team from Sanford C. Bernstein in Dallas who were producing about $13 million.