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UBS Loses LA Manager to First Republic, Merrill Texas Team Joins JPMorgan – AdvisorHub

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March 15, 2019

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For the second time in a week, San Francisco-based First Republic has attracted a senior “field manager” from a larger rival to help build its growing wealth management franchise.

Claudia Rea Lovell is leaving UBS Financial Services, where she most recently managed its Century City, Los Angeles, branch, to be managing director and “business leader” of the bank’s 17 southern California wealth offices, said sources familiar with her plans.

First Republic earlier this week hired veteran manager Michael S. Lee in a similar role running its New York regional offices. Lee has managed brokerage offices over 30 years at Merrill Lynch, Smith Barney and, for the last decade, at J.P. Morgan Securities.

Lovell, who is subject to a two-month garden-leave delay, did not respond to requests for comment sent through social media and left at her former office.

She has spent her 12-year career with UBS, joining its graduate training program in 2006 after graduating Vassar College. She subsequently worked as a fixed-income product specialist prior to becoming assistant head of five UBS “private wealth” offices servicing very wealthy customers in southern California, Scottsdale and Denver, according to her LinkedIn profile.

Lovell shifted to direct management of the Century City branch’s 35 advisors last August, the profile says.

First Republic in the past few years has been building a high-net-worth brokerage business on the back of experienced advisors hired from wirehouses, including a core group who joined from Merrill Lynch, which once owned the private bank. In January, First Republic reached into UBS’ Newport Beach office in southern California to recruit Greg Zappas, who sources said was a $2 million producer last year.

A UBS spokesman did not respond to a request for comment on Lovell.

Separately, J.P. Morgan Securities on Friday expanded its brokerage franchise in Dallas by hiring a team from Merrill Lynch, a J.P. Morgan spokeswoman confirmed.

Edward “Guy” Heartfield and Craig Steven Weinstein joined the former Bear Stearns unit as  managing director and executive director, respectively, along with client associate Laura Hopkins. They had been with Merrill’s private wealth management group (formerly known as PBIG), where they produced about $3 million combined in the previous 12 months, according to two sources.

“We are excited to join J.P. Morgan Securities and be able to offer the personalized service of a boutique organization and the global reach of one of the largest and most respected financial firms in the world,” Heartfield, who began his brokerage career with Legg Mason Wood Walker in 1993, said in a prepared statement.

The New York banking behemoth operates its brokerage unit employing fewer than 500 brokers alongside its broader private bank. It compensates the JPM Securities advisers with a revenue-based grid payout typical of the brokerage industry while its private bankers are salaried.

Heartfield, a former Smith Barney broker, joined Merrill in 2009, and Weinstein arrived at the Bank of America subsidiary in 2012.

Each also has roots at Credit Suisse. Heartfield joined Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette in 1997, and remained there following its 2000 acquisition by the Swiss bank prior to his joining Smith Barney in 2004 and Merrill in 2009.

Weinstein began his brokerage career at UBS Warburg in 2000 and spent seven years at Lehman Brothers prior to his four-year stint at Credit Suisse and his six years with Merrill, according to his BrokerCheck record.

Spokespeople at Merrill, which on Thursday shifted an experienced complex manager from California to run its Dallas-based Texas Mountain South division, did not reply to requests for comment on the team’s departure.