UBS Brokers Managing Over $800 Million Shift to RBC and Wells
Three UBS Wealth Management USA teams managing more than $800 million in client assets joined RBC Wealth Management and Wells Fargo Advisors in two cities in the past ten days, underscoring the continued recruiting hunger of the hiring firms at the Swiss bank’s expense.
Also exiting the DC branch on the same day for the RBC McLean branch was 22-year UBS veteran John Galleher, who said he produced $1.1 million in the past year on $401 million of client assets. His decision was made independently of his colleagues, he said.
A spokesman at UBS, which for the past three years has geared its compensation plans to retaining veteran advisors with high-end clients, declined to comment on the departures.
In Tacoma, Wash., Chad Stalder left UBS last Thursday after seven-and-a-half years with the firm, for a Wells private client group office in the city. Stalder, a 17-year broker who also has worked at Morgan Stanley, Smith Barney and Ameriprise, was producing more than $500,000 at UBS on $55 million in client assets, according to a source familiar with his book of business.
Both RBC and Wells have been among the most aggressive retail brokerage recruiters in the past year, and continue to glean results from wooing that began before the work-at-home restrictions of the pandemic set in, recruiters said. They said RBC has been offering high, but not top-end deals, to million-dollar producers with upfront payments equal to 175% of their trailing-12-month production.
Wells has been even more aggressive, dangling attractive deals to $500,000-level-and above advisers, with multiples of trailing-12 that can approach 200% for high-end producers, according to recruiters.
The firm has also been giving premium fees to the headhunters to help fill empty desks. Wells Fargo Advisors’ broker count has declined by more than 1,000 since disclosure of fake account scandals at its sister bank three years ago.
Galleher said he considered Wells but was nervous that clients would be put off by the scandal headlines. He declined to discuss his transition package with RBC, but said money was not paramount in his decision to leave UBS or to join the Royal Bank of Canada unit.
“They’re very competitive, but it wasn’t all about that,” said Gallaher, who has been a broker for 38 years and had been with UBS since 1998. “I want to participate in new [bond] issues [and] UBS just wasn’t interested.” He declined to elaborate.
Connor and Fusini, the other Washington, DC, brokers, joined UBS in January 2012 from Morgan Stanley and its Smith Barney predecessor. Connor began his 26-year brokerage career at Dean Witter and also worked at CIBC World Markets and its Oppenheimer successor before joining Smith Barney in 2007. Fusini began his broker voyage in 1981 at Washington regional firm Johnston, Lemon & Co. before beginning a 21-year stint with Smith Barney and Morgan Stanley.
Neither returned call for comment about their shift to RBC.
UBS also lost a $7.5 million team in another D.C. suburb in Virginia to Wells Fargo as well as a veteran New Jersey adviser who was managing $400 million to Morgan Stanley at the start of the Memorial Day weekend. The firm’s U.S. broker count has fallen to just below 6,000 from about 8,700 a decade ago, according to UBS insiders.
Wells Fargo Advisors has been offering premium signing packages to experienced advisors in an effort to fill desks vacated in the wake of the fake-account scandals that have plagued its parent bank company for more than three years.
Wells reached into RBC earlier this week, hiring Peter S. Cleary and a client associate in Norwell, Mass., a Boston suburb, according to an announcement from Wells.
Cleary had worked for 24 years at PaineWebber/UBS in Boston before joining RBC six years ago, according to his BrokerCheck history. He was generating $1.2 million in fees and commissions on $130 million in client assets when he jumped to RBC, according to press announcements at the time.
Cleary, whose practice includes providing advice on managing stock and stock options to corporate executives, according to his online RBC biography, did not respond to calls for comment on his current production metrics or his reasons for leaving RBC for Wells.
—Mason Braswell contributed to this story.