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UBS hires $6B team from Goldman as recruiting wars heat up

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UBS landed a team that managed $6 billion and generated $20 million in production at Goldman Sachs, replacing some recent losses to its rivals.

The new hires — Gregory Divine and Denis Cleary — also reflect the wirehouse’s focus on catering to elite advisors and their high-net-worth and ultrahigh-net-worth clients.

In 2016, the firm cut back on recruiting efforts — a move that Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley copied soon thereafter. In 2017, Morgan Stanley and then UBS left the Broker Protocol, an industry accord that eased advisor moves between member firms. Goldman Sachs is also not a member of the protocol.

Despite the hiring cutbacks, UBS has pursued a selective recruiting strategy. It has picked up several advisors so far this year, including a Merrill Lynch team that managed $11 billion in client assets.

Yet it’s also suffered some losses of its own. A team overseeing $7.5 billion departed for RBC last month. And on Friday Morgan Stanley hired a UBS duo who managed $780 million.

UBS currently has 6,549 advisors, as of Dec. 31. That’s down 301 from 6,850 for the year-ago period, according to the company’s earnings report.

The firm’s newest additions, Devine and Cleary, will operate from offices in Boston and Los Angeles. They started their advisory careers at Goldman Sachs in 2004 and 2006, respectively.

Before joining Goldman’s private wealth management unit, Devine worked in Silicon Valley. Cleary was a corporate attorney before he became an advisor.

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

Also moving with the advisors are analysts Abigail Harris, Seamus O’Neill, Mindi Chen and Christopher Carbone.

John Mathews, head of private wealth management at UBS, credited the advisors’ entrepreneurial focus, productivity and client base as reasons the firm hired them.

For Goldman Sachs, the group’s departure comes as the bank strives to build out its wealth management offering following its acquisition and rebranding of United Capital.

A spokesman for Goldman Sachs could not be reached for comment.

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