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UBS advisor with $220M jumps to Steward Partners

The Wall Street subway sign is seen in a station near the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., on Friday, April 22, 2016. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was little changed after retreating from a four-month high, as gains in oil lifted commodity producers to help offset weaker-than-forecast earnings from Microsoft Corp. and Google parent Alphabet Inc. Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg
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A 10-year UBS veteran went independent with Steward Partners, in a sign that the fast-growing firm is forging ahead with its recruiting efforts despite hurdles posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

“You know there’s been a lot going on, but we think we can have our best year in terms of recruiting,” says Jim Gold, CEO of Steward Partners, which is associated with Raymond James.

Of course, some aspects of the hiring process have changed, including more frequent meetings via video conferencing. But the firm is benefiting from a renewed willingness among advisors to change firms.

“Some of these moves got pushed back. People said in January ‘Oh I’ll start April 1,’ and then the pandemic hit. So we’re sort of working through the backflow,” Gold says, noting that the public health crisis has had a bigger impact on some regions than others.

The firm’s latest recruit, New York-based Ken Roban, has already seen some of the effects . He’s operating from suburban New Jersey in order to maintain social distancing. And rather than meet in person with clients, he’s been engaged in a bevy of phone calls.

“Once the crisis started, we really accelerated our service schedule. So people who were on say a quarterly update schedule, we moved that to bi-weekly,” Roban says.

He adds: “Any time there is a crisis, we’re always more in touch with what is happening in our clients’ lives.”

More often than not, wirehouses were on the losing side of these moves.
December 30

Roban, an advisor of 22 years, had worked at UBS since 2010, according to FINRA BrokerCheck records. His team includes Heidi Scali, a wealth management associate. While at UBS, the practice managed around $220 million in client assets

A UBS spokesperson was unavailable for immediate comment on his departure.

Roban says he was motivated to move to Steward Partners in part because of the firm’s partnership culture and backing by Raymond James.

Roban had considered opening his own RIA, going as far as to visit Charles Schwab’s Impact conference to get a better understanding of how to do it. But, he says, the best advice he received was to think about what kind of entrepreneur he is.

“I came to the conclusion that while it is exciting to put those pieces together — find an office, pick technology, choose the right custodian — I’m not really that interested in the nitty gritty of running a business. My passion is my clients,” Roban says. “So I decided that I wanted as much support as possible in the context of independence.”

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