UBS loses 248 advisers in the Americas over past year

Meanwhile adviser annual productivity reaches new peak of $1.35 million

Jul 23, 2019 @ 2:52 pm

By Bruce Kelly

UBS on Tuesday reported a year-over-year decline of 248 financial advisers, or 3.6% of the global bank's financial adviser workforce in the Americas, as of the end of the second quarter.

The Swiss bank reported 6,689 financial advisers at the end of June, while a year earlier it had 6,937 under its roof in the U.S. and Americas region.

The decline in advisers should come as no surprise as the firm said a few years ago it was pulling back from the costly and high stakes business model of recruiting advisers from competitors. To that end, it withdrew from an industry agreement called the protocol for broker recruiting — which makes it easier for an adviser to jump to a new employer — near the end of 2017.

That does not mean that UBS Financial Services Inc., the bank's U.S. broker-dealer, has given up on recruiting entirely. Instead, it is selectively recruiting advisers, noted one UBS executive, who pointed to recent hires and spoke on the condition of not being identified.

The executive shrugged off any adviser attrition, noting that UBS advisers in the Americas are working at peak productivity, averaging close to $1.35 million in annual fees and commissions.

Despite those positives, UBS also reported a decline in net new money in the Americas of $8.3 billion for the second quarter, which was offset somewhat by gains globally. The bank reported a decline in new money across its global franchise of $1.7 billion.

Those outflows compared to net outflows of $1.2 billion during the second quarter of 2018, UBS noted in its earnings report. The main reason for the outflows was seasonal income tax payments in the United States, which were due April 15, the company said.

Meanwhile, the bank in its earnings report also reported a 13% year-over-year decline in compensation commitments with recruited advisers to $127 million, continuing its effort to cut loans to recruits.

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