Disillusioned UBS vet bolts wirehouse, declares independence on 65th birthday
Ahmie Baum knows something about transitions.
After all, the longtime ex-UBS advisor who began his wirehouse career at E.F. Hutton in 1979 has been counseling clients on how to “navigate the known and the unknown” when they sell their businesses or retire from executive, medical or legal careers for 40 years.
So when it came time to make his own transition by going independent with help from Dynasty Financial Partners, Baum, who managed $400 million at UBS, recognized the decision had been 20 years in the making.
His new Pittsburgh-based RIA, Interchange Capital Partners, has six other team members, including his oldest son Brian Baum, who is a CFP. All are making the transition with him.
“To me, this is the beginning of my next 25-year chapter,” says Baum, who notes his own father didn’t retire from teaching until he was in his mid-80s.
But Baum says the desire to strike out on his own was not the only factor in his decision. The decision to leave UBS after 27 years was also prompted by what he describes as a “betrayal” by upper management. He says a previous executive regime at the wirehouse had committed to funding a portion of the salary of one of his team members for a 20-year period. After that team member retired, it was Baum’s understanding that the remainder of that money would be redistributed back to him. However, Baum claims, the wirehouse declined to honor the verbal agreement he had struck with previous management.
“Ultimately they broke a promise and that was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” he says. “I said, ‘I can’t trust [UBS] anymore. I need to go and be in control.’”
A UBS spokeswoman declined to comment on Baum’s allegation.
The decision to go with Dynasty dates back to a conversation he began with recruiter Mindy Diamond 20 years ago when she began to give him advice about going independent.
After choosing the platform provider over contenders including Kestra and LPL Financial, Baum learned from Dynasty that the transition would be finalized in June — by happy coincidence, on his birthday.
“So, on my 65th birthday I resigned as a 40-year veteran from the wirehouse world to start Interchange Capital Partners,” says Baum, who got his CFP when he was 50.
Joining Baum and his son at the new firm are CFPs Christopher Duerr and Kendra Kasznel Reilly, senior director of relationship management. The team also includes Evan Fitzpatrick, senior vice president of planning, and client associates Alyssa Jean Cassandro and Kathleen Saksa.
As an independent advisor, Baum says he now has a greater ability to serve as a fiduciary to clients.
“I think this is a remarkable way to help people. … I love what I do,” Baum says. “I think this is a very noble business.”