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UBS Team Signing Edges True Private Wealth Assets Towards $1B

By Murray Coleman December 6, 2017

After UBS made public its plans to exit the longstanding broker’s protocol for recruiting, advisor Jason Bratt – who had worked there for nine years – says he wasn’t surprised.

But the veteran wirehouse FA had already put into motion a move to independence. Along with his partner, David Nanson, the duo announced Tuesday they’ve joined True Private Wealth Advisors. The Portland, Ore.-based team, which managed about $228 million at UBS, will lift the expanding indie RIA’s assets past $950 million, according to company officials.

“Since we’re going completely independent, the protocol wasn’t an issue for us,” Bratt says. “But it did give us more clarity that our decision came at a time when the established brokerage model is in a state of transition.”

His team, which includes a support staffer, officially made the switch late last week. But it came after nearly three years of searching to find a less-conflicted client servicing model, Bratt says.

“We kept reading and hearing about the independent model,” he notes, “and increasingly became impressed with the independent advisor’s ability to source a wider variety of digital tools and develop a greater breadth of investment research.”

The former UBS advisors now have access to eMoney and MoneyGuidePro to use as their core planning software, notes Jason Herber, a cofounder and partner at True Private Wealth. Those programs are integrated into the back office of the firm’s custodian, Fidelity.

“In terms of moving into the independent space, a major headache for wirehouse advisors has been porting technologies and linking different systems with their preferred service providers,” Herber says.

At his indie RIA, new advisors can tap outside experts like Dynasty Financial Partners and Envestnet to help find the right technologies and investment platforms, he adds.

Besides a broader selection of software and client-reporting apps, Bratt finds a promise to be able to take more control over how he works with families as an “exciting” development.

“Nobody knows how to service our clients better than we do,” he says. “By going independent, we’ve got more freedom to work with each individual person in a highly customized manner.”

After doing several years of due diligence, Bratt and Nanson say they picked their new home based on shared philosophies about how to service clients as well as a common interest in growing their practices. “They really seem to understand where we’re coming from as former wirehouse advisors,” Bratt says.

True Private Wealth was formed in 2012 by four ex-Merrill Lynch advisors. The fledgling indie RIA started with about $240 million and remains based in Salem, Ore., the state’s capital. A year later, a second office in the state’s biggest city, Portland, was added.

Jason Bratt

The firm is now up to nine client-facing advisors and seven staffers, according to Brett Davis, True Private Wealth’s chief executive. “We’re continuing to talk to other teams who will fit our culture about joining our growing firm,” he says. “We’ve now recruited four different teams and our long-term strategy is to take advantage of our scalability to keep adding advisors when it makes sense.”

In the future, Davis and his partners are exploring opening offices in regional hubs such as Seattle, Boise, Spokane and Salt Lake City.

“We were formed by a group of very experienced Merrill Lynch advisors with a clear understanding of the limitations of the wirehouse model,” Davis says. “We wanted to create an environment for advisors where they could truly act as fiduciaries for our clients with fewer conflicts of interest.”

True Private Wealth is offering established FAs payouts which Davis describes as “significantly” higher than the compensation typically doled out by wirehouses as well as by many large independent broker-dealers.

The firm offers advisors ownership over their own books of business. A partnership track is also part of the indie RIA’s pitch to select recruits. Another part of the allure, Davis says, is that each team can opt to fold their daily operations into a core set of business services run with a more centralized approach.

“We’re offering to help experienced teams pool their resources,” he adds. “We’ve already invested in creating the wheel, so we’re using our scale to help each team run its own business more cost effectively.”