Wire Wars Morgan Stanley Adds Another UBS Team

6 Dec    Investing News

Morgan Stanley added another notch to its UBS-capture bill, recruiting Pasadena, Calif. advisor Howard Doan and his retired senior partner Thomas E. Dukes, a Morgan Stanley spokeswoman confirmed.

Doan had been with UBS Wealth Management USA for five years of his 14-year brokerage career while Dukes spent more than half of his 48-year career with the firm and its PaineWebber predecessor, according to their BrokerCheck records. They are at least the seventh team to have made the wirehouse-to-wirehouse trek since the end of August.

The moves are raising eyebrows because both firms pulled out of the Protocol for Broker Recruiting at the end of 2017, creating client-solicitation obstacles for brokers who jump to other firms and are vulnerable to lawsuits and arbitration complaints if they take contact information with them.

The legal issue may be heightened for the Pasadena team because Dukes essentially retired several years ago, said a person familiar with his practice. He had essentially sold his book to Doan and other younger colleagues as part of UBS’s five-year ALFA (Aspiring Legacy Financial Advisor) program aimed at retaining client assets.

Spokespeople at UBS did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Doan declined to comment and Dukes could not be reached.

Doan arrived at Morgan Stanley on November 1, according to BrokerCheck, but Dukes’ BrokerCheck history still lists him as being at UBS. A person answering his phone said he had retired “several years ago.”

The team in the past year generated about $1 million in fees and commissions, according to the source who spoke on condition of anonymity. Doan’s  UBS web biography said he had been managing more than $250 million in client assets at the firm.

Doan’s move occurred the same day that a $3.2 million UBS team in Fort Worth, Texas, shifted to Morgan Stanley. The two firms last week reached an agreement temporarily blocking a $4.5 million ex-UBS team in Ohio from soliciting former clients from their new home with Morgan Stanley.

Doan, a first vice president at Morgan Stanley, began his career as a registered rep in 2004 at Crowell, Weedon & Co. as an equities trader, according to his LinkedIn profile. He moved to Merrill Lynch in Pasadena in 2013 to become a financial advisor, leaving after 11 months for UBS, according to BrokerCheck.

Dukes began his career as a registered rep in 1970 at Dean Witter Reynolds, and also worked for 12 years at at Los Angeles-based regional Bateman Eichler Hill Richards and its successor firm, Everen Securities before joining UBS in 1993, according to his BrokerCheck history.

UBS Wealth executives have said they are selectively revving up recruiting, but the Swiss-bank owned firm’s advisor force in the Americas fell by more than 280 in the 12 months ending September 30, according to its third-quarter earnings filing. In the U.S. it has about 6,110 U.S. advisers, according to internal sources.

On Wednesdaym two UBS advisors in Los Angeles producing about $12.5 million led their team to RBC Wealth Management-USA. The brokers, Roger W. Stephens and Dan Rothenberg, had been with UBS for seven years.

—Jed Horowitz contributed to this story.

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