$900M team leaves Merrill Lynch for UBS

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A Merrill Lynch team that oversaw nearly $900 million in client assets jumped to UBS, according to a spokeswoman for the Swiss firm.

The group, led by advisor Rod Loewenthal, joined UBS in Northbrook, Illinois, where they will report to Geoffrey Centner, a branch manager.

Although UBS has reduced recruiting efforts over the past year, the firm still attracts large producers and teams. In September, two advisors who managed a combined $450 million in assets joined the firm's branch in Walnut Creek, California. The wirehouse's bid to slash recruiting was done in order to shift resources back to advisors currently at the firm and make it a more attractive place for high-net-worth financial planners.

Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley have also announced hiring cutbacks. Meanwhile, many advisors have been leaving the big firms to join smaller rivals who offer what they see as less bureaucracy. And earlier this month, Morgan Stanley exited the Broker Protocol, an agreement that permitted departing brokers to take limited client contact information with them.

Some industry insiders have suggested that other wirehouses may follow suit. Spokeswomen for UBS, Wells Fargo and Merrill Lynch have previously declined to comment on the matter.

UBS's newest hire is an industry veteran. Loewenthal started his career at Merrill Lynch in 1995, according to FINRA BrokerCheck records.

Also joining him at UBS are Kevin Kamholz, first vice president, Betsy Mason, senior wealth strategy associate and Justin McIntire, senior registered client service associate.

Kamholz had been with Merrill Lynch since 2004, per BrokerCheck.

The team made the move last week.

A Merrill Lynch spokeswoman could not be reached for immediate comment.

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