Bank of America-Merrill Lynch (BAC) said Friday it recruited a team from UBS (UBS) in Palm Beach, Florida, that has some $500 million in assets under management and does about $3.1 million in yearly fees and commissions.
The group includes four advisors focused on ultra-high-net-worth investors and corporate executives: Robert “Bobby” J. Debbs; Frederick J. Shapiro, CFP; Steven F. Colamarino, chartered retirement plan specialist; and Albert “Jiggs” David Hutzler III, CFP. It now reports to complex director James Chahine.
“Merrill Lynch is pleased to have this experienced team of wealth management advisors join our organization,” Chahine said in a statement. “Bobby has clearly demonstrated success in the marketplace based on his high level of personal service to clients, ability to lead clients through successful liquidity events and investment results.”
Debbs has been with UBS since 2005. Prior to his work as an advisor, he worked for Source Capital Group in investment banking and as an entrepreneur and consultant.
According to his FINRA records, Debbs settled a client dispute in 2010 for about $50,000 related to sales of Lehman Brothers Return Optimization Securities. (He was also part of a companywide settlement tied to auction-rate securities sales.)
Shapiro got into the financial-services industry in 1997. His FINRA records show that a 2013 client complaint was expunged in 2014, and a settlement in 2000 of about $10,600 (associated with IPO shares of Nanogen) was reached by Morgan Stanley Dean Witter with the advisor denying any wrongdoing or involvement in the matter’s resolution.
Colamarino cut his teeth in the private-banking unit of Credit Suisse Securities in the United States starting in 2007, while Hutzler has 34-plus years in the business. Before UBS, Hutzler worked for Alex Brown & Sons, Prudential Securities and Wachovia Securities.
“We recognized the need for a broader and more diversified platform to meet our clients’ goals,” said Debbs, in a press release. “After meeting with several firms and conducting months of due diligence, we chose the combination of Bank of America and Merrill Lynch because we believe that their lending capabilities and goals-based wealth management process distinguishes them from other firms.”
In the fourth quarter, the number of Merrill Lynch advisors was 14,085 in Q4, an increase from 13,772 a year earlier and from 13,999 in the prior quarter. UBS Americas said it had 6,997 reps as of Dec. 31, down from 7,114 in the third quarter and 7,137 a year ago.
Average production, or fees and commissions per advisor, at UBS Americas stood at $1,091,000 in Q4’14, while production for the Merrill Lynch reps was roughly $1,070,000.
Earlier this year, experts like Mark Elzweig, an executive-search consultant, said that recruiting could pick up as wirehouse retention deals struck during theh financial crisis start to expire.
— Check out How Merrill Clear Was Born From Surprise Boomer Discovery on ThinkAdvisor.