The New Story
NEW YORK (Reuters) - UBS Wealth Management Americas unveiled its 2014 compensation plan on Tuesday, offering new expense accounts to brokers who produce annual revenue of at least $550,000 and eliminating broker pay for client households with less than $100,000 in their accounts.
Other changes include incentives to encourage the selling of financial planning products to households that have $1 million or more to entrust to the firm.
brokerage firms typically tweak pay plans each year to promote sales of particular products and services - and occasionally make major changes.
But firms tend to move cautiously so as not to drive their best salespeople to rivals.
"We adjust to make sure our compensation plan aligns with our strategies," Jason Chandler, head of the firm's approximately 7,100 brokers, said in an interview.
"These are minor adjustments rather than major changes.
The firm, an outgrowth of the old PaineWebber brokerage and a subsidiary of Swiss banking giant UBS AG, will not pay advisers for working with any household with less than $100,000 at UBS, up from $75,000 this year.
UBS, like rivals such as Bank of America's Merrill Lynch, already shuttles clients with less than $250,000 from branch-based advisers to its phone-based Wealth Advice centers.
In 2013 to date, 52,000 households have made the move, Chandler said.
The firm also is tweaking its "net new money" bonus to push brokers them to work with wealthier households.
The bonus still applies to brokers who attract $5 million or more of new money over the year, but will apply only if the money comes from households with at least $1 million to entrust - unless the broker brings in $10 million or more.
In 2013, brokers could qualify even if they got assets from two households with less than $250,000.
"We had too many advisers focused on households with lower levels than we wanted," Chandler said.
The 2014 compensation plan also contains changes aimed at stoking brokers' productivity.
The biggest carrot is expense accounts for "thousands" of brokers who previously did not have them and were dependent on branch managers for travel and entertainment outlays.
Any adviser who brings in $550,000 or more in commissions and fees annually will have a $500 account.
Those who produce more than $1 million - and already have expense accounts - will enjoy increases of $1,000 to $2,000 for a total of as much as $7,000.
Expense accounts for the top tier of multi-million-dollar producers remain at $10,000.