$18-Mln UBS Team Led by Top-Ranked Alabama Broker Breaks Away to Launch RIA
A UBS Wealth Management USA team producing $18 million in annual revenue and led by a top-ranked broker in Birmingham, Alabama left the wirehouse to launch its own registered investment advisory firm, according to a source familiar with the move and registration records.
A person answering the phone at the newly-launched RIA, which is called Stonegate Investment Group, said the team was not available for comment because they were busy transitioning their former customers. Separately, Smith did not respond to a request for comment sent via social media.
Smith, managing partner and chief investment officer of Stonegate, is joined by partners Christopher J. Compton, Matthew C. Brown, Mark F. Sommer, James W. Allen, Jerry G. Duncan and William E. Richardson, according to Stonegate’s Form ADV filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The seven partners have combined industry experience of 195 years, according to their BrokerCheck reports.
A UBS spokeswoman declined to comment on the departure.
It is unclear whether the Stonegate team used any third-party assistance in setting up their RIA or if the advisors plan on dropping their brokerage licenses as part of their move. Their BrokerCheck records still reflect their registration with UBS.
The RIA in its Form ADV filing said it “generally recommends” that its clients use the custody and brokerage services of Fidelity Clearing & Custody Solutions.
A Fidelity spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment for further details on the relationship with Stonegate.
Smith, a 29-year industry veteran, had been with UBS since 2007, according to his BrokerCheck profile. He spent the beginning of his career at Smith Barney predecessors Lehman Brothers, from 1992 to 1993, and Citigroup Global Markets, where he spent the next 14 years, the database said.
Smith entered the industry shortly after graduating college via an employer whose family was among the wealthiest in the state of Alabama and for whom he had worked as a “gofer,” according to a 2019 article in Barron’s highlighting Smith’s career.
Compton has worked for the same firms as Smith since 2004, according to his BrokerCheck.
Brown joined UBS in 2009 from Navigant Capital Advisors, where he began his career in 2007, the database said.
Sommer has worked at the same firms as Smith from 1998 and onward, having joined Citigroup Global Markets from The Robinson-Humphrey Company, where he started his career in 1994.
Allen, based in Atlanta, joined UBS in 2012 from Genspring Family Offices, where he had been since 2007. He entered the industry in 2006 with Morgan Keegan & Company, the database said.
Duncan, a 46-year industry veteran, started out in 1974 with Reynolds Securities, then Dean Witter Reynolds from 1984 to 1988, when he joined E.F. Hutton for a 3-month stint, according to his BrokerCheck. Similar to Smith, he was with Lehman Brothers 1988 to 1993 and Citigroup Global Markets from 1993 to 2007 before joining UBS.
Richardson, with 50 years in the industry under his belt, started at Sterne, Agee and Leach in 1970, moved to Paine, Webber, Jackson & Curtis in 1978 and then to UBS, where he had been since 1980, according to his BrokerCheck.
Stonegate appears to reflect what industry consultants have described as a rising appetite for independence, even among teams generating eight-figure annual revenues. A 12-person, $20 million-producing group led by Jeffrey Kobernick and Robert Sechan left UBS in December to start EdgeCo-affiliated NewEdge Wealth in Darien, Connecticut.