November 9, 2011

UBS, Merrill & Raymond James Grab Top Morgan Stanley Teams

UBS attracts a team of advisors with $1.7 billion in assets, as Merrill Lynch and RJ attract $1 million-plus producers

Several teams have departed Morgan Stanley. (Photo: AP) Several teams have departed Morgan Stanley. (Photo: AP)

UBS (UBS) said Tuesday it recruited a team with $1.7 billion in assets and $8.3 million in yearly fees and commissions from Morgan Stanley (MS) in Chicago, one day after Merrill Lynch (BAC) said it attracted a Morgan Stanley group in Kentucky with $1.6 million in yearly sales and $167 million in assets. On Wednesday, Raymond James’ independent channel (RJF) said it tapped a Morgan Stanley team in Pennsylvania with annual production of roughly $1.15 million and $155 million in client assets.

According to UBS, the Desai Group joined the firm’s private wealth-management operations in Chicago. The team is led by Ajay Desai and includes John Staab and Frank Pellicori. The group focuses on delivering wealth-management strategies to family offices and ultra-high-net-worth clients.

It also advises and provides access to capital markets for institutional entities, such as family offices, hedge funds and private-equity firms, and specializes in private equity, equity capital markets and market sensitive transactions.

“We are pleased to have Ajay and his team join us,” said Dennis Drescher, managing director and head of UBS’ private-wealth management office in Chicago, in a press release. “Their extensive experience and proven success in addressing the unique issues facing ultra-high-net-worth families and individuals underscore the firm’s commitment to focusing on what matters most to our clients.”

Prior to his work for Morgan Stanley, Desai worked for Merrill Lynch, as well as for Anderson Consulting.

In the third quarter, Merrill Lynch had 16,722 financial advisors; Morgan Stanley Smith Barney had 17,291, while Wells Fargo (WFC) included 15,188 and UBS encompassed 6,913 in the Americas.

Merrill Lynch said Monday that the team of Raymond Stacy and Christopher Pieper joined the firm from Morgan Stanley in Ft. Mitchell, Ky. The team has had yearly fees and commissions of $1.6 million and assets of close to $167 million.

Last week,  Morgan Stanley (MS) said it recruited three UBS (UBS) advisors in New Jersey and Georgia with nearly $1 billion in assets and more than $8 million in yearly fees and commission.

Raymond James

Raymond James said Wednesday that it recruited veteran financial advisors Donna Bobbs and her partner Jason Dugan from Morgan Stanley Smith Barney in Williamsport, Pa., according to Bill Van Law, national director of business development for Raymond James Financial Services, the independent broker-dealer of Raymond James Financial.

“Independence provides a permanent solution to the frequent challenges and frustrations facing advisors at many firms,” said Van Law in a statement. “Attracting Donna and Jason to the firm is proof that our advisor-centric culture and broad platform are attracting some of the very best advisors in the industry.” 

Bobbs and Dugan recently formed River Valley Financial Advisors, an independent firm based in Montoursville, Pa.

“What attracted us to Raymond James in particular,” said Bobbs in a press release, “was that our clients would not miss a beat in the transition. We are a full-service financial advisory team and actively involved with our clients’ lives and their households. The support that Raymond James provides its independent advisors to meet their clients’ needs is both comprehensive and outstanding.”

Bobbs, who is president of the new firm, began her career in the financial services industry in 1980 at Merrill Lynch. She joined Morgan Stanley in 2003. Dugan, who is vice president and branch manager, has worked at Morgan Stanley since 2007.

“The Montoursville/Williamsport area is ranked as one of the 10 fastest-growing communities in the nation,” said Dugan in a statement. “River Valley Financial Advisors is looking forward to growing at the same rapid pace as our community, by providing excellent service to our multigenerational clients and meeting their long-term financial, estate and retirement planning needs.”

In the quarter ended Sept. 30, Raymond James said it had 5,113 advisors in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom – about 4,500 do business in the United States.

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