September 14, 2023
Louis Diamond Quoted
by Miriam Rozen
Field managers at UBS Wealth Management USA have tightened their travel and expense budgets as company officials continue to apply pressure about meeting 10% expense reduction targets in each market, according to three sources, including two inside the firm.
The wirehouse encouraged its market leaders in recent months to have pre-approval from staff at UBS’s Weehawken headquarters before covering T&E expenses for brokers, according to two of the sources. UBS has also encouraged managers to ditch sponsorships of local charities and organizations, according to one of them, who is a UBS manager and was on the internal conference call two months ago in which Division Director Jennifer Povlitz outlined the changes.
“The lack of an ability to hire support staff, even if the advisors want to and take it on their own expenses is a major problem,” said Louis Diamond, a recruiter who has helped advisors exit UBS. “We hear about that all the time.”
Meanwhile, UBS has kept its foot on the throttle for new recruits with risk-free offers for brokers that guarantee back-end payouts as long as brokers remain at the firm. It wooed a $13 million Merrill team last week with a new office in Columbia, South Carolina.
The firm is “allocating all their capital to” recruiting, Diamond said, “instead of investing in their teams that have been loyal to them and that are growing. It definitely seems incongruent.”
After UBS streamlined its ranks last year, some UBS managers have jumped to competitors.