In what can be considered a coup of sorts for the firm, UBS hired a prominent black Smith Barney broker this past winter—while it was under fire from a lawsuit brought by former brokers alleging a pattern and practice of racial discrimination.
Percival “Pep” Perry, a $600,000 producer with more than $70 million in assets under management, left Smith Barney to join the Swiss giant’s San Francisco office at the end of January. The firm, and the industry at large, has been accused of discriminating against women and minorities because of the low level of diversity among its employees (see Registered Rep.’s March cover story). The Swiss giant didn’t return phone calls requesting comment on the hire.
According to the suit, as of March 2002, just 1.2 percent of the firm’s 8,615 brokers were black and, the plaintiffs say, there has been only one black branch office manager in the system since that time.