NEW YORK, Oct 1 (Reuters) - Four UBS financial advisers who managed more than $400 million in assets at UBS Wealth Management Americas joined Snowden Lane Partners, said Snowden executives, making it the first time the New York-based registered investment advisory group founded by former Merrill Lynch executives has hired a non-Merrill Lynch team.
Financial advisers Philip Lazzari, Mark Stevens, Eric Watson and Eric "Lanny" Buckner, known as the Harbor Wealth Management Group, started at Snowden Lane's new office Baltimore, Maryland, from UBS on Tuesday.
All four worked as brokers at Bank of America's Merrill Lynch earlier in their careers before UBS. Merrill Lynch and UBS, along with Wells Fargo Advisors and Morgan Stanley, are four of the world's largest securities brokerages and advisers frequently move between them.
The familiarity with Merrill Lynch and Snowden's current executives like Greg Franks is the reason Harbor Wealth joined them, Mark Stevens said. Franks hired Stevens at Merrill Lynch in 1998, giving him his first job in the financial advice industry.
Stevens said his team had for several years considered leaving their brokerage to start an independent business, a move called "breaking away" in industry parlance. Stevens said he felt the agenda at UBS wealth management was set largely by the bank.
"To a certain degree you're driven by the investment bank at UBS," Stevens said. "I feel as if the chains have been removed from what we can do for our clients (at Snowden). If we like an investment product, we can pursue it."
A UBS spokesman declined to comment as the brokerage does not make public statements on adviser moves.
Greg Franks, managing partner and president of Snowden Lane, said the firm expects to hire at least one more team this year, possibly later this month.
Founded in 2011, Snowden Lane is an RIA and independent broker-dealer employing nearly 20 financial advisers who manage $1.5 billion in client assets. (Reporting by Elizabeth Dilts)