UBS scores $9B JPMorgan team

“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.
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UBS enticed over a $9 billion team that was previously with J.P. Morgan’s private bank.

It’s the wirehouse’s second-biggest hire of the year — and one of the industry’s largest poaches in 2020.

The team joined UBS’ private wealth management unit in Atlanta where they report to Lane Strumlauf, Southeast private wealth management market head. The group includes managing directors Jeff Lewis, Steve May and John McColskey; relationship managers Jessie Searles and Mary Bennett; and portfolio associate John Lindsay.

In recent years, UBS has focused its strategy around advisors who serve wealthy clients and the new hires reflect that emphasis.

“We believe we have the strongest platform for private wealth advisors in the Americas, and with our suite of ultrahigh-net-worth capabilities, advisors like Jeff, Steve and John will be able to deliver the full power of UBS to their clients,” John Mathews, head of ultrahigh-net-worth and PWM Americas at UBS Global Wealth Management, said in a statement.

After a coronavirus-related slowdown this year, advisor moves have picked up again — particularly among the industry largest teams.

“I think a lot of big teams are thinking of making a move,” says recruiter Michael King. “Because of COVID, they’re working out of their homes and they believe the clients will come with them. And big teams get big money for moving.”

Lewis served as managing director and head of investments and advice for the Southeast region of JPMorgan’s private bank, according to UBS. He had been registered with JPMorgan since 2004, according to FINRA BrokerCheck records.

In addition to his 13 years at JPMorgan, May previously led the financial planning division for the mid-South region for Wachovia.

McColskey worked at JPMorgan for five years before joining UBS.

BrokerCheck records show all three advisors’ registration changed to UBS Dec. 8.

A JPMorgan spokesperson declined to comment.

UBS’ other big 2020 hire was an $11 billion team from Merrill Lynch. The 17-member group, dubbed Wickham Cash Partners, joined UBS’ private wealth management unit in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The wirehouse has more than 6,000 advisors in its Americas unit.

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