William Bruen Sr., William Bruen Jr., and Andrew Bruen, a three-generation team of financial advisers managing over $500 million in assets and producing more than $1 million in trailing revenue, left Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC for UBS Wealth Management last week.
Financial advice is all in the family in the Bruen household.
William Bruen Sr. and his son have been partners for 33 years, since the latter — now 60 years old, left the Navy to join his father at Loeb Rhoades Hornblower & Co. “I planned to make the Navy my career, but I'd always been interested in investments,” Mr. Bruen said. “When I got the opportunity to work with my father, I took it.”
Last year, 23 year-old Andrew Bruen joined his father and grandfather in their practice just two weeks after graduating from college. A summer intern in the office while going to school, Andrew has hit the ground running since joining the practice. “I was a fly on the wall and got exposure to the business at an age most people don't,” he said. “I'm working my way up in terms of my responsibilities.”
It was James H. Bruen who got the advisory ball rolling for the family, opening up the first brokerage office in Florham Park, N.J., for William A. Read & Co. in 1922. The list of firms he and his descendants have worked for since then reads like a history of Wall Street, among them, Dillon Read, Edwards & Hanly, Shearson Loeb Rhoades, Shearson Lehman and Salomon Smith Barney.
“Most of that was just name changes,” said Mr. Bruen. “We didn't change branches for 90 years, and we never left the firm we were working with.”
Until now, that is. Like many Smith Barney advisers, Mr. Bruen said life has been difficult since the merger with Morgan Stanley three years ago. When his former branch manager, Michael Price, and regional manager, Ron Ferrelli, called him from UBS, the three decided to make the move. “The idea of working with them again was a big draw for us,” Mr. Bruen said.
So how long before the next Bruen is picking stocks and drumming up new clients? “Dad encouraged me to look at other fields, and I'm going to do the same with my kids,” said Andrew Bruen, who plans to marry in August. “But if they end up being interested in the business, I'd love that.”
MSSB spokeswoman Christine Pollack did not confirm the departures by press time Friday afternoon.