RBC lands $600M UBS team through first all-virtual recruiting

Logo with grasss of Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) headquarters building during the company's annual general meeting in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on Thursday, April 6, 2017
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In its first “end-to-end” virtual recruitment, RBC lured over a nine-person team from UBS that managed about $600 million in client assets.

Other teams that have joined the Canadian bank during the coronavirus outbreak began their recruitment interviews in-person before switching to online communications.

“We didn’t need to physically travel to see that RBC was the ideal place to move our practice,” Jason Burkett, one of the firm’s latest recruits, said in a statement. “The reputation of the organization and strong platform will allow us to deliver for our clients on day one.”

The Northern Colorado Wealth Management Group comprises (from left) advisor Jason Burkett, associate financial advisor Kyle Danford, client associate Nicole Jernigan, advisor Donald “Tack” Baker, senior financial associate Cindy Motiff, client associates Wendy Tjelmeland and Austin Schuler, and advisors Lance Crossett and Scott Baker.

His team joins RBC Wealth Management’s Denver office. While many RBC locations and branches remain open as an essential service with skeletal staffs, most advisors and their teams — including the new Colorado group — are working remotely during the coronavirus pandemic, the company says.

“We continue to adapt with virtual and digital recruiting tools, allowing us to show the industry’s best advisors everything about RBC, even if we’re taking those meetings while working from home,” Dan Ball, director of RBC’s Denver complex, said in the statement.

“This new experienced team was among the first to meet us online instead of in-person, but our strong culture and dedicated leadership still came through.”

In addition to Burkett, the advisory team comprises brothers Donald “Tack” Baker and Scott Baker, along with Lance Crossett. They are joined by associate financial advisor Kyle Danford, senior financial associate Cindy Motiff and client associates Nicole Jernigan, Austin Schuler and Wendy Tjelmeland.

RBC says the pandemic has not slowed its recruiting efforts. In the last two months, the firm has said it has hired six advisors managing a total of $889 million in client assets, prior to the Colorado group. A Wells Fargo team that focuses on fixed income joined RBC May 4. The two advisors manage $417 million in client assets and are joining the regional broker-dealer in Austin, Texas, according to RBC. Steven Franco and David Storer had been at Wells for over a decade, with stints at firms including Raymond James, according to FINRA BrokerCheck.

More often than not, wirehouses were on the losing side of these moves.
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At the end of April, four advisors managing $472 million in client assets joined RBC, according to the firm. Frank Taylor and his sons William and Eric Taylor joined their new employer in Chester, New Jersey from Merrill Lynch, along with advisor Frank Malcolm Minor III, according to FINRA BrokerCheck.

Jeremy Sutton, a rep overseeing $100 million in client assets at Wells Fargo, joined RBC in Chicago that same month.

In recent months the firm has also onboarded two Merrill advisors managing $241 million in client assets as well as an advisor managing $350 million from Wells Fargo.

Through these hires, RBC has found it virtual interactions can keep its talent pipeline moving, the firm says.

“It doesn’t completely replace the in-person visit,” Kristen Kimmell, head of advisor recruiting and field marketing for RBC, said at the time, “but it does still help give them a sense of the culture.”

Additional reporting by Jessica Mathews.

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