Exactly one month after PaineWebber closed on its purchase of Nashville, Tenn.-based regional J.C. Bradford, Bradford reps learned they were to become part of UBS Warburg, billed as one of the top five international banks.
That was a shock for at least a few Bradford reps.
"There's a lot of uncertainly now," says one broker at the firm. "I've seen a lot of defections. What can you tell your clients? Bought by one company, bought by another. ... [Bradford] was clearly a pawn is this one."
Another Bradford rep in the same office says, "With the exception of the partners, everybody, and I mean everybody, has talked to somebody about leaving."
But a veteran Bradford producer in another city says the UBS deal is not negative. "A lot of Bradford brokers have left, but it's not because of PaineWebber or UBS. They left to get a check."
Producers at Bradford who were still with the firm as of July 12 are getting 5 percent of production in the form of restricted UBS stock, and UBS stock options under the same formula as PaineWebber reps, according to a PaineWebber spokesperson. They were also offered a separate retention package by PaineWebber (see June 2000 RR, Page 32).
"[Bradford brokers] don't even know what they're afraid of," says a PaineWebber rep who works in a market also served by Bradford. "This is a cultural issue. They like the idea of being a big fish in a small pond."
Not all Bradford reps feel that way. Another broker at the firm who likes the mergers sings the praises of PaineWebber's technology and UBS's ability to handle wealthy clients.
"It's very positive," the producer says. "Those that felt they had to leave are already gone."