UBS (UBS) said Tuesday that Barry Mitchell–an advisor with yearly fees and commissions of $1.9 million and assets under management of roughly $290 million–joined its New York operations from Merrill Lynch. Mitchell will work in the Park Avenue office, where he will report to branch manager Dan Shepler.
This news comes five days after UBS promoted Bob McCann (left) to the CEO slot for the Americas, which include about 6,900 financial advisors. McCann–a former Merrill Lynch executive–has led the wealth-management operations of UBS in the Americas since 2009 and has successfully recruited a number of managers and advisors to UBS from Bank of America-Merrill during that time.
“I see this [promotion of McCann] as a relatively loud signal of UBS' dedication to its U.S. brokerage business and also to wealth management as its core business worldwide,” said Chip Roame, head of Tiburon Strategic Advisors, in an interview with AdvisorOne on Friday.
“McCann is a long-time private client group executive at UBS and Merrill,” Roame explained. “The appointment of him as head of the entire UBS U.S. operation says to me that the emphasis will remain on private-client business, as opposed to investment banking, asset management, or anything else.”
As UBS has grappled with a number of issues, there has been continued speculation that its U.S.-based operations could be put up for sale and then perhaps purchased by a wirehouse rival, such as Wells Fargo. UBS has repeatedly denied such plans.
In mid-November, UBS shared plans to strengthen its wealth-management units while scaling down its investment bank and introducing new performance targets companywide. This announcement followed the news that UBS had made then-interim CEO Sergio Ermotti the official head of the investment bank.
Meanwhile, UBS rival BofA (BAC) recently reached a $315 million settlement with class-action plaintiffs who had sued Merrill Lynch over claims tied to mortgage-backed securities, according to a Bloomberg report on Tuesday. Beginning in December 2008, Merrill Lynch was sued by holders of asset-backed certificate holders for alleged “false and misleading” prospectus statements related to $85 billion in securities, Bloomberg reported, based on a brief filed on Monday with the court in New York.