UBS Scoops Up $11.2-Mln Merrill Private Wealth Team in New York City
An $11.2-million Merrill Lynch Private Wealth Management team left for rival wirehouse UBS Wealth Management USA on Friday in New York City, adding to a growing list of departures among large teams at the “thundering herd.”
The group is led by Stephen M. Kincade and Alexander S. Fridell and had overseen $1.45 billion in client assets, according to a person familiar with their practice. The team also includes Stephen’s son, Chris, who is a junior advisor and client associates Zach Kingsley, Jessica McEntee, and Elle Schiowitz.
They had been well-known at Merrill’s private wealth group, which includes around 200 teams serving ultra-wealthy customers, for the size of their practice and also their well-heeled customers. Their client roster includes notables, such as hedge fund manager Leon Cooperman, according to a second source close to their practice.
Reached at his new UBS office, Kincade, who started his career at Goldman Sachs in 1985, declined to comm_ent on the move and also declined to comment or confirm any potential customers. He and Fridell had joined Merrill in 2012 from Barclays Capital in New York, according to BrokerCheck.
A spokesperson for UBS declined to comment, and a spokesperson for Merrill Lynch did not return a request for comment.
Merrill Wealth head Andy Sieg last week identified “competitive attrition” as an issue that required attention from the firm’s leadership. Losses of experienced brokers rose to around 5% annualized in the second quarter after running at around 4% in recent years, a spokesman confirmed.
The company since 2019 has not disclosed the number of core brokers in its wealth business. Total headcount of advisors at Bank of America, including thousands of private bankers and consumer-bank based brokers, fell 2.1% in the second quarter and 5.9% year-over-year to 19,385, the company said last week.
Recruiters have said that anecdotally, departures of a number of high profile teams have been steady in recent years. Kincade and his team had worked on the same floor at One Bryant Park, also known as Bank of America Tower, as a $7-million prive wealth group led by Louis Meltzer, Jacob M. Dunn and Hadi Fakhoury, who left last September to join Morgan Stanley Wealth Management.
Kincade and his group had evaluated other firms, including Morgan Stanley but opted for UBS because it was a better fit for their relatively transactional practice, which had a focus on syndicate business, the second source said.
UBS has also shown a willingness to open its wallet to compete with high-end offers from Morgan Stanley and other aggressive recruiters for some high-end teams, recruiters have said.
Kincade also worked at Grigsby, Brandford & Co. and Lehman Brothers before joining Barclays in 2009, according to his BrokerCheck. Fridell started at Citigroup’s Smith Barney in 2007, shifted to Lehman Brothers the following year and worked at Morgan Stanley for a stint before joining Barclays in 2009.