California Cruisin’: UBS Private Wealth Broker Jumps to Morgan Stanley, Partner Declines
Brian Sharpes, head of a UBS private wealth and institutional consulting group team in northern California who has been with the bank for 13 years, moved with at least three associates to Morgan Stanley last week, evidence that inter-wirehouse recruiting continues despite a broad hiring freeze at big firms.
Sharpes, whose UBS website indicates he led a group that advised on investment policy and about $3 billion of assets for nonprofit institutions and affluent families, left behind his partner James Hulburd at the team that called themselves the Golden Gate Group, said people at both firms familiar with the move.
Sharpes, whose website flaunts his status as a Barron’s Top 1000 Financial Advisor from 2010 to 2013 and a top 1,200 FA in 2014 and 2015, did not return calls for comment. A person answering Hulburd’s phone said he was unavailable to comment.
Joining Sharpes at Morgan Stanley’s Graystone Consulting unit are team administrator Justin Crocker, chartered financial analyst Dan Tichenor, senior client service associate Allison Stong, and two client service associates Luke Asher according to their BrokerCheck histories. A Morgan Stanley spokeswoman confirmed the move but declined to comment on their assets under management, which by definition are smaller than the assets “under advisement” quote on the UBS website.
The move was only the second of Sharpe’s 23-year career as a broker and appears to belie public statements from Morgan Stanley, UBS and Merrill Lynch that they have retreated from recruiting experienced brokers with high price-tags. The firms have indicated that they will make exceptions for “franchise” players.
Morgan Stanley purchased Smith Barney from Citigroup in part because of its prosperous “consulting group” practice that advises nonprofits and businesses on their endowments and retirement plans, the specialty of the Sharpes group. Prior to joining UBS in November 2003, Sharpes spent the first nine years of his registered representative career at Smith Barney, according to BrokerCheck.
Elsewhere in California, ten-year Merrill Lynch veteran Phillip May split up with his partner in Modesto in the central part of the state, bringing about five associates with him to Raymond James & associates branch in the farming community.
May and his former partner Branden Brooks LinkedIn profiles describe each other as “longtime colleagues” and cofounders of the Brooks May Group 15 years ago at A.G. Edwards & Sons.
Brooks has moved to Lynchburg, Va. Reached at his Merrill office there, he declined to comment on the team’s split. May did not respond to calls for comment.
Florida-based Raymond James has been expanding into the West Coast and the Northeast, advertising itself to advisers and brokers as a more folksy alternative to big brokerage firms that are controlled by large banks.
“When you live in a town like Modesto, you come to enjoy the pleasures of hometown life,” Raymond James northern California complex manager wrote on the branch’s website. “Seasons are celebrated and family life is enjoyed. It’s a world away from Wall Street….[W]e’re dedicated to helping you pursue your financial goals and retirement aspirations. The difference is we deliver them with the kind of personalized attentive service you’d expect from your friends and neighbors. After all, that’s what we are.”