Wire Wars: Morgan Stanley Lands $14-Million Florida Team from UBS
In another signal of its revived recruiting appetite, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management on Friday hired a $14 million family team from UBS Wealth Management USA in Boca Raton, FL.
“UBS was great to work for,” Sean Fetterman said in an interview. “I just outgrew them. My clients want to have a better overall experience, and better technology.”
He would not specify the advantages of joining Morgan Stanley, other than to note that it seems to be “involved in every syndicate, and every IPO. They’re just a premier team on Wall Street.” He declined to discuss the terms of Morgan Stanley’s recruiting offer.
The brothers, who joined UBS 12 years ago after seven years with Wachovia/Prudential Securities, did not seriously evaluate other wirehouses, regional or independent firms after meeting with Frank Novello, said Sean Fetterman. Morgan Stanley shifted Novello, a veteran New York City manager to Boca Raton last year to fill a subcomplex management vacancy.
Sean Fetterman ranks #5 this year among Barron’s “top” Florida advisors, up from # 11 in 2019. The team worked with around 460 high-net-worth households with more than $1 million of investable assets, according to the ranking. An arbitrator who granted Sean Fetterman expungement of two client auction-rate securities complaints in 2018 referred to him in the award document as “one of the largest brokers in Florida.”
A Morgan Stanley spokeswoman confirmed the Fettermans’ arrival, but declined further comment.
The wirehouse, which left the Protocol for Broker Recruiting three years ago to keep its large force intact while cutting recruiting, last year reactivated its hiring budget. Morgan Stanley is offering top-quintile advisors as much as 200% of their trailing-12 production in up-front forgivable loans, according to recruiters, with the opportunity to top 300% if they hit back-end asset transfer and production goals.
A UBS spokesman declined to comment on the team’s departure.
UBS also exited the Protocol years ago as it curbed its hiring appetite. Although its brokerage force in the U.S. has declined to around 6,000 (versus more than 15,000 at Morgan Stanley), it continues to selectively recruit. Last Friday, UBS hired a Merrill Lynch team with $5 million in production in California.
The Protocol allows brokers to take some customer contact data if they join other signatory firms, and firms that are not members at times seek temporary restraining orders to prevent departing brokers from jump-starting their practices at new firms. The Fettermans worked carefully to make a clean, post-Protocol exit from UBS, leaving not only client lists but, on the advice of their lawyers, even photos of children and college memorabilia on their desks, according to Sean Fetterman.
The broker first registered as a broker 31 years ago at First Miami Securities, where he worked for 11 years prior to joining Prudential Securities. He remained with Pru as it was absorbed by Wachovia Securities.
He, Adam and Raphan all left Wachovia in 2008 to join UBS.
Adam began his brokerage career 29 years ago at Metlife Securities, migrated to First Miami less than a year later, and also worked at PaineWebber and Salmon Smith Barney before joining his brother at Prudential in 2000.
Raphan started his career in 2007 at Wachovia, according to BrokerCheck, while Brandon Feetterman first registered in 2018 with UBS. He was #2 in UBS’s training program, according to his father.