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The war for talent is as fierce as ever, with some firms like UBS issuing a press release every time they make a big new hire. Today, we received notice that UBS Wealth Management Americas had recruited Roger W. Stephens, Dan Rothenberg and Theodore Fisher away from Morgan Stanley Smith Barney to join the firm’s Los Angeles branch office. They bring a combined $2.1 billion in assets and trailing 12-month production of $5.2 million to the firm.

The release did not mention, of course, the loss of a top producing team last month to U.S. Capital Advisors, a Houston b/d started just a year ago by a former UBS branch office manager, or other defections.

But UBS’s Americas division does seem to have turned the corner. In its latest quarterly report, the firm noted that advisor headcount and client assets showed net rises. UBS is the only one of the four major Wall Street brokerages whose advisors are not tied to the firm with long-term retention agreements, which may make them a little bit easier to pick off. At the end of 2009, MSSB had the greatest market share of the four Wall Street firms, with 33 percent of total client assets, versus 30 percent for Merrill, while Wells Fargo Advisors had 23 percent and UBS, 14 percent.

The UBS release says that Stephens will continue to lead the team, which offers a full range of wealth management services but specializes in corporate retirement plan consulting and 501(c) endowments. The three report to Stephen McCashin, Los Angeles Complex Director. Stephens and Fisher are returning to UBS after four and a half years.

“Los Angeles and Southern California constitute a significant growth region for UBS. Welcoming this team back to UBS, with their longstanding client relationships and insider knowledge of the particular needs of Los Angeles clients will allow us to further develop our capabilities in this important wealth market,” said Randall Grossblatt, Managing Director and Regional Director for Southern California.

UBS’s 20 branches in Southern California employ approximately 500 financial advisors and 875 total employees, and are responsible for a total of $51 billion in client assets under management.

Stephens was named one of Registered Rep magazine's Top 100 Wirehouse Advisors in 2008 and 2009. Rothenberg serves on the board of the Chandler School in Pasadena and both he and Stephens are members of the Board of Phoenix House of California, an organization committed to protecting and supporting those individuals and communities impacted by substance abuse and dependency.