A former UBS team overseeing $340 million in client assets has joined independent firm Kestra Private Wealth Services, in what’s the latest move in a series of advisors departing the wirehouse for smaller, regional rivals.

The Cranston, Rhode Island-based team, known as Northeast Investment Group, includes financial advisors and founding partners Jeffrey Boudjouk, Anthony Landi and Deborah Shuster, along with client relationship manager Kelly Almonte.

“You want on the one hand to keep getting a relatively decent yield from your investments, but also protect your portfolio against short-term bouts of volatility," said Maximilian Kunkel, chief investment officer for Germany at UBS Wealth Management.
Bloomberg News

Boudjouk said they made the move to Kestra PWS in order to have greater freedom in how they serve their clients. “We wanted to partner with a firm that gave us all the tools, support and guidance needed to focus on our clients and grow our practice. Kestra PWS really delivered on that front,” Boudjouk said in a statement.

A spokeswoman for UBS declined to comment on the career move.

For Kestra PWS, a hybrid investment advisor subsidiary of Kestra Financial, the move comes close on the heels of a string of recent hires, mostly from other wirehouses. In April, the firm recruited a $420-million team from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania known as Questmont Strategic Wealth Advisors. Last month alone saw the addition of Liberty Wealth with $300 million in AUM, Synthesis Wealth Planning with $200 million in AUM and Undivided Wealth Management with $186 million in AUM.

“At Kestra PWS, our business is centered on fostering and maintaining close relationships with our advisors, similar to how Northeast Investment Group interacts with their clients,” Rob Bartenstein, CEO and senior managing director of Kestra PWS, said in a statement. “Advisors like Anthony, Jeffrey and Deborah want freedom from the wirehouse, and they want to have it with a support system that fills operational gaps while allowing them to focus on what’s most important — their clients.”

Last November, UBS quit the Broker Protocol, an agreement that allows brokers who are switching firms to take basic client contact information with them. While being out of the protocol can make it harder for advisers to make career moves, brokers are increasingly opting to leave wirehouses for greater independence.

San Diego-based Kestra PWS operates across 11 offices, with more than $21.1 billion in total client assets.

Ravie Lakshmanan

Ravie Lakshmanan is a reporter for Financial Planning, On Wall Street and Bank Investment Consultant.