August 18, 2023
By Karmen Alexander and Mason Braswell
RBC Wealth Management-U.S. on Friday landed its largest hire yet with an Atlanta-based UBS Wealth Management USA team generating $22 million, according to a source familiar with the move.
The team, which had managed approximately $5.5 billion in client assets at UBS, is led by advisors Leslie A. Lauer, Rebecca T. Glasgow and Wayne “Curt” Rubinas and includes seven client associates, a spokesperson for Minneapolis-based RBC confirmed.
Their practice is called the ESOP Group, a reference to the employee stock ownership plans that they craft for executives as part of a succession plan for privately held businesses. Other UBS advisors had also referred clients to the ESOP Group for help designing the plans, which typically involve selling shares to other employees.
The team was one of the top by production at UBS, but they came to believe the wirehouse “no longer prioritized” their niche, according to Louis Diamond, an industry recruiter with Diamond Consultants. The team expected more support and attention at RBC, which has around 2,100 brokers.
“RBC stepped up and proved that they would support this team at every turn, would invest in the ESOP business line, and give them a direct line to the top of the house for any challenges that arise,” said Diamond, who introduced them to RBC.
A spokesperson for UBS, which has around 6,100 brokers, declined to comment on the departure.
The team’s support staff includes: Kurt S. Hirshman, Catherine A. Mericka, Andrew T. Becket, Dana D. Breland, Dianna M. Moore, Christy H. Dryden and Rebecca L. Leichter. The group reports to the RBC South Atlantic Complex Director Robin Long, according to the RBC spokesperson.
“They’re one of the top ESOP teams in the country with a very specialized business,” said Pete Secret, a former J.P. Morgan Advisors manager in Atlanta. “It’s a huge win for RBC.”
The ESOP team was co-founded in 1989 by Keith Mericka, a 40-year industry veteran, who agreed to schedule his retirement from UBS a few years ago as part of its sunset program, according to Secret, who is a recruiter but was not involved in the move.
Reached at a publicly listed number, Mericka, who joined UBS from Morgan Stanley in 1983 and is Catherine’s father, declined to comment. He was no longer listed on the ESOP Group’s former UBS website but was still registered with UBS on Friday.
Lauer, who was ranked #8 on Forbes’ best-in-state wealth advisors and #227 on its America’s top wealth advisors lists this year, started her career at UBS in 2006, according to BrokerCheck. She works from an office in Columbus, Ohio, according to the database.
“RBC Wealth Management’s supportive leadership and culture will allow us the freedom to focus on what we do best–helping our clients transition their businesses,” Lauer said in a statement.
Glasgow started her career in 2004 at Quick & Reilly and worked at Lincoln Financial Advisors and Mason Securities before moving to UBS in 2008, according to her BrokerCheck record. She was ranked #14 on Forbes’ best-in-state wealth advisors and #30 on its America’s top women advisors lists this year.
Rubinas started his career in 2003 at Merrill Lynch and moved to UBS in 2006, according to his BrokerCheck profile. He was ranked #15 on Forbes’ best-in-state wealth advisors list this year. He is registered in Weehawken, New Jersey.