Since Bob McCann took over as chief executive of UBS Wealth Management Americas his mission has been to turn around the firm’s ailing wealth management arm, which has seen hundreds of advisor defections.
On Monday, it looked as if McCann’s work was starting to bear fruit: UBS Wealth Management Americas [UBS] hired four advisors from Merrill Lynch/Bank of America [BAC] with combined assets of $352 million. The new team will join the firm’s Jacksonville, Fla., office, the company said.
Christopher Neri, Kevin Pacciano and Gary Harden will report to Dino Ragazzo, the Jacksonville branch manager, the company said. Neri, Pacciano, and Harden previously had $285 million in assets under management and brought in $1.4 million in annual fees and commissions.
Julian Pace also joined from Merrill with $541,000 in annual fees and commissions and $67 million in assets under management.
The hiring seems like a coup for UBS, which has struggled as the small fry in a space dominated by three heavy hitters: Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney and Wells Fargo Advisors.
Industry recruiter Rick Peterson said in an interview with On Wall Street several months ago that McCann had to either cut infrastructure or add a significant number of advisors. Peterson said if UBS really wants to beef up its ranks and compete head to head with the other three wirehouses, which are all twice as big in advisor headcount, it would have to recruit more.
That seems to be what UBS is doing. Now whether UBS boosted its pay packages, which recruiter Mindy Diamond, said several months ago it would need to do to remain competitive, is another question.
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