Welcome to Financial Advisor IQ
Follow

UBS Loses Half-Billion Team

By Garrett Keyes May 13, 2019

Four UBS advisors who, along with their three supporting staff members, managed over half a billion dollars, have broken away for independence and launched their own RIA, Great Diamond Partners, through Dynasty Financial Partners.

Moving to independence through Dynasty gives the team “added resources, better technology, and increased objectivity,” Steven Tenney, CEO and founding partner of Great Diamond Partners, says. “We work with multiple generations of families. They want continuity of advice, which we have been able to do for decades … the move to independence will further that effort.”

Tenney says his new RIA plans to recruit more advisors “where their talents fit Great Diamond's culture,” he says. “That may mean using acquisition, bringing advisors from large wirehouse firms, or bringing on independents. We are open to any avenue of talent.”

Before leaving, the group -- Tenney, Joseph Powers, financial planning and insurance strategies lead, Helen Andreoli, chief financial officer and founding partner, and Jack Piper, founding partner -- had over half a century of experience collectively at UBS.

“What I’ll say about UBS is that I have great respect for many of the individuals at that firm. Many of them are my friends. But independence is the best route for our clients and our wealth management group,” Tenney says.

Great Diamond is now in the process of trying to regain its old clients.

“We’re spending time talking with our clients and the reception has been overwhelming. The reaction has been incredibly positive and our clients' loyal to our team is tremendous,” Tenney says.

Speaking on the news of the move Jonathan Blau, ex-UBS advisor, president and CEO of $770 million AUM RIA Fusion Family Wealth, says Great Diamond seems to have broken away for reasons similar to his when he left the firm.

He broke away from UBS in 2013 because of “the culture that exists inside the big firms — particularly UBS,” Blau says. UBS was “very heavily advisor centric and encouraged advisors to sell products that have the highest yield to the broker and firm. We didn’t like that,” he says. Blau instead sought to provide “the standard of care a fiduciary has versus the wirehouses.”

UBS declined to comment when asked about the Great Diamond team’s departure.

Earlier this month UBS lost a $300 million advisor team to independence through Raymond James.

“We knew the best next step for out team was to become an independent practice. It was a matter of finding the right firm,” Lori Siegel, a ten-year UBS veteran, said.

CEO Sergio Ermotti recently told analysts the bank’s shrinking advisor roster was a sign its strategic plans were succeeding.

Referencing the cost of loans offered to inbound FAs, Ermotti said: “Recruiting as a way to show growth is only good for the top line, but definitely not good for PBT [profits before tax].”