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Notable Rep Movement: UBS Capitalizes on Departures from Merrill Lynch


A notable shift is taking place in wealth management as high-performing advisory teams and seasoned financial advisors depart from Merrill Lynch in favor of UBS. Over the past year, there has been an accelerating transition in talent and client assets, ultimately indicating a change in industry dynamics. The following blog delves into the details of this significant movement, exploring the factors driving the transition, the geographic spread of departures and UBS's strategic efforts to bolster its wealth management services through these high-profile additions.

UBS Wealth Management has been at the forefront of this movement, capitalizing on the outflow from Merrill Lynch through a robust recruiting strategy. The firm has consistently attracted some of Merrill Lynch's top advisory teams, luring them with the promise of enhanced resources, platform capabilities and opportunities to serve their high-net-worth clientele. The Merrill departures signify advisors seeking greater resources and support. At the same time, it shows the appeal of UBS’s messaging and player-friendly atmosphere under leadership looking to expand market share rapidly.

The impact is apparent in both the quantity and quality of teams making the switch—UBS has recently welcomed over a dozen teams from Merrill, with several managing billions in assets. The teams range across the Northeast, Midwest, and West Coast, covering some of Merrill Lynch's most established markets. UBS has found particular success in the tri-state area but has expanded its banker drain nationally across regions. As Merrill departures gain momentum, UBS is poised to capitalize on this trend by further harnessing its recruitment drive to fuel promises of rapid expansion.


Notable Rep Movements

- James P. Hart 4-person team generating $4M moves from Merrill to UBS Albany office, specializes in athletes and entertainers
- Maureen C. Keating's team brings $700M in client assets to the UBS Hartford office, have a 6-decade history tracing to Keating’s father
- David Sacharko and Sean Siana 2-person, $340M team move to UBS Connecticut office
- Jeffrey M. Klinger and Bradley Quan's team managed nearly $7M in revenue and $1B in client assets at Merrill San Francisco office
- $428M asset team of Matthew Tashjian and Jason Farkas recruits to UBS Connecticut office
- Hammond, Fay, Bush & Associates 8-person, $1.6B team moves from Merrill to UBS Illinois office
- Matthew Foley, Lawrence DeLuise and Christopher Butler's team brings over $2B assets from Merrill to the UBS New Jersey office


Factors Driving the Shift

Notable rep movement can be caused by various factors, including changes in firm culture, compensation structure, leadership, client relationships, market conditions, merger and acquisition activity, regulatory changes and personal career advancement opportunities. These factors can influence reps to seek new opportunities and make moves within the industry. The main factors driving advisor departures from Merrill Lynch to UBS likely include:

  1. Compensation & Benefits: Financial incentives, including sign-on bonuses, higher commission rates, or more attractive compensation packages, can be a significant factor. UBS might offer more lucrative or appealing financial terms than Merrill Lynch.

  2. Corporate Culture & Values: Advisors may find UBS's corporate culture more aligned with their personal values and professional aspirations. A supportive, innovative, or client-focused environment can be a strong pull.

  3. Business Model & Autonomy: UBS might offer more autonomy in decision-making, allowing advisors to manage their client relationships and portfolios with greater independence. This can appeal to advisors seeking less corporate oversight and more flexibility.

  4. Client Service & Product Offerings: UBS may provide a broader range of products, services, or more sophisticated wealth management solutions that advisors feel can better meet their clients' needs, especially for ultra-wealthy clients.

  5. Strategic Direction & Stability: The strategic vision and perceived stability of UBS versus Merrill Lynch can influence decisions. Advisors might view UBS as having a clearer growth trajectory or a more stable platform for their careers.

  6. Technology: Superior technology platforms and innovative tools for managing client portfolios and relationships can make UBS more attractive. Advisors seeking cutting-edge technology to enhance their work and client service may prefer UBS.

  7. Career Development & Growth Opportunities: Opportunities for professional growth, including leadership roles, training, and development programs at UBS, can attract advisors aiming for career advancement.

  8. Market Position & Brand Perception: The reputation and perceived market position of UBS as a global leader in wealth management might influence advisors' decisions, especially if they believe aligning with UBS enhances their own marketability and client trust.

These factors, individually or in combination, can motivate advisors to transition from Merrill Lynch to UBS, reflecting personal career goals, client service philosophies and the pursuit of a more favorable work environment.

Why Tracking Rep Movement Matters


UBS has significantly enhanced its wealth management division by recruiting elite teams from Merrill, bringing aboard some of the most experienced advisors in the industry. This strategic move not only broadens UBS's roster but also strengthens its commitment to providing exceptional service to its ultra-wealthy clientele. As UBS gains traction in attracting top talent, the financial industry remains keenly observant of Merrill's ability to hold onto its leading advisors. Despite Merrill's robust standing, UBS's aggressive recruitment strategy signifies its readiness to directly compete for the industry's best, signaling a shift towards gaining a larger share of the market. For both firms, the battle for elite teams serves as a proving ground, with client loyalty and future growth on the line.


FINTRX is a unified family office and RIA database that provides comprehensive data intelligence on 850,000+ family office and investment advisor records, ultimately designed to help asset-raising professionals identify, access and map the global private wealth ecosystem. Find relevant decision-makers in a snap with 375+ powerful search filters and queries. Uncover the data you need, when you need it and filter through areas of investment interest, AUM, asset flows, intent signals, potential associates and much more. FINTRX sources data from both public and private sources and has a team of 75+ researchers who map, validate and compile data daily to ensure its accuracy.

FINTRX CTA-Jan-09-2024-10-30-56-9511-PM

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