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Q4 Earnings: UBS Profit Falls as Advisor Headcount Rises

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UBS (UBS) said early Tuesday that its fourth-quarter net income fell to 393 million Swiss francs from 1.66 billion Swiss francs in the 2010 period, missing forecasts. Wealth Management Americas’ pre-tax profit was 114 million Swiss francs (or $125 million) compared with a loss of 32 million Swiss francs last year and a gain of 139 million Swiss francs in the prior quarter.

In U.S. dollar terms, operating income for the Americas unit, led by former-Merrill Lynch executive Bob McCann (left) fell 5% in the fourth quarter due partly to lower fees and commissions. Net new money was 1.9 billion Swiss francs (or $2.1 billion) compared with 3.4 billion Swiss francs last year and 4 billion Swiss francs in the previous quarter.

According to UBS, net recruiting of financial advisors drove net new money during the quarter. Including interest and dividend income, net new money was 7.9 billion Swiss francs (or $8.7 billion) vs. 8 billion Swiss francs in the prior quarter and 8.9 billion Swiss francs in the year-ago period.

Revenue in the quarter ended Dec. 30 was $1.46 billion, down 4% from last year but up 2% from the third quarter. For the fourth quarter, UBS says it had the highest revenue (or fees and commissions) per financial advisor in the industry at $842,000, as well as the highest invested assets per FA and net new money per rep.

Wealth Management Americas included 6,967 FAs at the end of the fourth quarter, up 171 from a year ago and 54 from the previous quarter, reflecting the hiring of experienced financial advisors, according to UBS.

On Monday, UBS said it recruited six advisors from Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and Alliance Bernstein.

The Eubanks Lappin Group has joined WMA’s Raleigh, N.C., branch. The group is led by Steve Eubanks and Michael Lappin, both ranked among Barron’s 1000 advisers last year. They bring to WMA a production of approximately $4 million and assets under management of $750 million. The team will report to Karl Ruppert, executive director and complex director.

Also coming over from BoA-Merrill is the Trudeau Group in Birmingham, Mich.

Joining UBS in New York is David Shorr, a former Morgan Stanley Smith Barney advisor with about $2.8 million in trailing-12-month fees and commissions and assets of $355 million, and Steve Owen comes to UBS in Dallas from Bernstein.