First Republic Nabs UBS Recruiting Head

23 Mar    Investing News

Underscoring its heightened appetite for big producers, First Republic Bank has hired UBS Wealth Management USA’s head of recruiting to oversee its broker recruiting efforts on the East Coast.

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Albert Leshinsky has resigned from UBS and is expected to join First Republic in New York in May, according to two sources. He will report to Jonathan Kropf, San Francisco-based First Republic’s senior vice president for private wealth management recruiting, one of the sources said.

Leshinsky, who began his 14-year UBS career as a financial analyst in the controller’s department, ran recruiting-deal structure and due diligence from November 2013 until his elevation to the top spot two years ago, according to his LinkedIn profile. The period coincided with UBS’s retrenchment in mid-2016 from spending big dollars to attract veteran advisers, although the company this year said it is again actively seeking candidates to fill empty desks.

Neither Leshinsky nor Kropf returned requests for comment.

A UBS spokesman declined to confirm Leshinsky’s departure.

UBS’s brokerage force in the United States has declined to just over 6,000 advisors, according to brokers at the firm, less than half the force of Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch and Wells Fargo Advisors.

First Republic, a private bank once owned by Merrill Lynch, has around 185 brokers, including several large teams that have left the wirehouses in the past two years advisors to participate in hiring offers that recruiters say remain among the highest in the retail brokerage industry as part of its campaign to build out its wealth arm. Among its hires from UBS last year were two teams in Los Angeles collectively producing about $16 million of revenue and a $3.6 million team in New Jersey.

The drive has not been painless for First Republic. The $16-billion-asset team of former Merrill advisers that put First Republic on the retail brokerage map when it purchased their RIA in 2012 left last summer following expiration of their non-compete contracts.

On the management side, Brian Riley, a former Merrill Lynch divisional manager who joined First Republic in 2015 to spearhead West Coast recruiting, departed last year. On the flip side, the bank hired seasoned East Coast field manager Michael S. Lee from J.P. Morgan Securities a year ago to oversee its branches in New York, Florida and Connecticut.

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