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$250M UBS team launches RIA to expand services

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A UBS advisor duo managing around $250 million in assets has left the wirehouse to open up an RIA, according to the newly established firm, enTrust Wealth Advisors.

Advisors Daniel Conners and Michael Crawford made the move so they could provide new services their clients were asking for, including tax planning. The move had nothing to do with the management or the people at UBS, according to Conners.

“We had a good experience there. We really have nothing bad to say about UBS,” he says.

The two advisors spent five years at Morgan Stanley before their nine-year employment at UBS, according to FINRA BrokerCheck. A spokesman at UBS declined to comment on the departure.

The duo also made the switch because they believe some technology — namely reporting and risk analysis — is superior in the independent channel, Conners says.

The RIA chose Fidelity as its custodian and clearinghouse, which has played a large role in guiding the team through the move and helped choose the firm name.

“They did everything,” says Conners, who praised their marketing, tech, transition and everyday consulting support.

This isn’t to say the move was easy. Conners noted that the team, which includes Tara Conners Dekel, head of client relations, and Gillian Vapnek, head of financial planning, hasn’t slept much since moving in November. Additionally, the timing of the move wasn’t ideal.

“The market didn’t cooperate with us at all during the initial months,” Conners says.

However, practicing holistic planning allowed them to navigate away from market concerns: ”It wasn’t the focus,” Conners says.

The advisors are excited about the potential for growth ahead. Clients have been referring them to new business now that they can provide more comprehensive planning, Conners says. Trust attorneys and CPAs have been pointing clients in their direction, he says.

Additionally, enTrust Wealth Advisors’ partner, Todd Buchner of BxC Partners, is providing capital and helping the firm establish its growth goals, Conners says.

The advisors anticipate the business will accelerate in a few months, once they adapt to new systems and the transition is finalized.

“It’s just a lot of work, but it’s very rewarding,” Conners says.

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