Credit Suisse’s Sandy Katz, San Francisco All-Star, Takes Wells Fargo Offer
Wells Fargo Advisors’ silence about the progress of its exclusive arrangement to recruit Credit Suisse’s orphaned brokers betrays a lack of success, many observers believe, but the bank-owned brokerage giant has landed at least one big fish.
He is Sanford “Sandy” Katz, a veteran broker in San Francisco who managed about $2 billion of client assets last year, according to Barron’s. Katz, who ranked 49 in Barron’s 2014 list of top U.S. advisors, joined Wells’ 555 California Street branch in December, according to Finra’s BrokerCheck database.
A spokeswoman for Wells, who previously said the company would not comment on specific CS hires, did not respond to our queries about Katz.
Several sources formerly with Credit Suisse said he may have had the biggest individual book at CS’s San Francisco branch, which is a few blocks from his new Wells home.
Katz, who began his brokerage career in 1986 at Goldman Sachs & Co., did not return calls for comment. Many of his former colleagues have foregone Wells’ offer and jumped to firms they say are more culturally attuned to serving very wealthy clients. Wells executives have recently began lowering expectations about the fruits of its CS deal.
Prior to joining Credit Suisse in late 2008, Katz worked for almost six years at UBS Wealth Management. UBS has been so aggressive in hiring its Swiss rival’s U.S. brokers that CS has taken the unusual step of filing a raiding suit. Several sources said that UBS undoubtedly tried to recruit Katz again following Credit Suisse’s decision last year to close its U.S. brokerage business.
But Katz had good reason to defer to Credit Suisse’s push for him and other top brokers to join Wells. It is allowing them to take all their deferred pay with them, an amount that for some totals millions of dollars in cash and Credit Suisse shares. CS has canceled those awards for advisors who join UBS, Merrill Lynch and other firms, leading several to file time-consuming arbitration claims against their former employer.
Katz has been there, done that. In 2006, from Goldman Sachs to compensate him for deferred stock that Goldman withheld from him when he left in 2002 for UBS. (Goldman claimed he was contacting his former clients in violation of company policy, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.) In his arbitration hearings, Katz said he made as much as $3.5 million in some of his years at Goldman.
“My guess is that Sandy doesn’t want to go through that again, and is probably thinking of retiring soon,” said a former UBS executive who knows Katz but is not familiar with his latest move.
Brokers who accept the rich recruiting deals being dangled by UBS, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch and, in some cases, Wells, have to wait seven years or more to collect the full bonus, he and other sources said.
Katz, who has no children and grows wine-producing grapes at his Napa Valley home, likely has no need to lock himself into such long-term arrangements, the former executive said.