The Swiss have placed a rich bounty on Merrill Lynch advisors and their willingness to pay up to 180% of annual production seem to be paying out handsomely.
UBS has culled a full 14 advisors from the thundering herd, all of whom generate more than $1 million a year individually or in teams.
The signing bonuses alone could cost the bank close to $20 million, but the satisfaction of capturing all that talent ahead of the next round of retention payments is probably worth it.
Recruiters say Merrill Lynch reps are especially vulnerable to defection at the moment as their relationship with Bank of America sours.
In terms of disgruntlement, the mood at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney -- especially the Smith Barney side -- is also riding fairly low, recruiters say. UBS recently grabbed another eight advisors from MSSB.
The interesting thing here is that some big teams have started defecting from the Morgan Stanley side of that company. Previously, ex-Smith Barney reps were fleeing almost exclusively.