Veteran UBS Manager Meraz to Exit in L.A., Firm Hires Vegas Duo from Merrill
Ronald J. Meraz, a veteran manager at UBS Wealth Management USA who was overseeing around 120 brokers in several Los Angeles-area branches, is “retiring” in May, a spokesman confirmed.
“We’re grateful to have top talent in the marketplace to consider,” a UBS spokesman said, declining to comment further on Meraz’s age or departure. Meraz did not return calls to comment.
The five “downtown” L.A. offices that Meraz managed housed brokers overseeing around $27.4 billion of client assets, according to his UBS biography and his BrokerCheck record. He previously served as Southwest regional manager overseeing 825 advisors in southern California, Hawaii, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado, and for a time ran the Orange County complex.
The Swiss banking giant has been making deep changes in oversight of its core wealth management business, ranging from appointing Iqbal Khan from Credit Suisse late last year as co-head of wealth management to reorganizing its U.S. retail brokerage divisional structure. In Los Angeles, UBS shifted several managers but a source said the changes appeared to be “net neutral” for Meraz, who ceded oversight of a Century CIty branch but took the reins of a Newport Beach branch.
In 2013, Meraz won the internal Edward J. Connelly award, which UBS Wealth designates as the highest recognition it can grant a field leader, according to a firm web page. He also was honored as complex director of the year in 2014.
The accolades preceded UBS’s decision in 2016 to dramatically curtail recruiting of experienced advisors, formerly a major job objective of its field managers. A recruiting memo last September, however, credited Mraz for lassoing a $2.7 million private banking team from Wells Fargo.
Meraz’s departure comes as Albert Leshinsky, UBS’s Wealth Management USA’s head of financial advisor recruiting, left to join First Republic’s private wealth management group.
UBS’s three-year hiring chill combined with a wave of departures of veterans that brought its U.S. broker count to fewer than 6,300, according to insiders, more than twice as small as Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch and Wells Fargo Advisors.
UBS in recent months has encouraged managers to begin filling empty desks.
Daniel Beheshti and Jenni Lee-Mitchell, who had been registered reps for seven and three years, respectively, at Merrill Lynch, joined UBS in Las Vegas last Friday, a spokesman confirmed. They worked with about $116 million of client assets, with Beheshti producing around $700,000 in the previous 12 months and Lee-Mitchell $300,000, said a person familiar with their practices.
Lee-Mitchell directed requests for comment to a firm spokesman, who confirmed their arrival but did not comment on their production metrics