May 14 (Reuters) - Concert Wealth Management, a California-based startup firm that works with independent advisers, has added its latest breakaway broker recruit from UBS’s Wealth Management Americas unit.
Adviser Chris Mason, who spent the past six years at UBS, left the brokerage on Friday to start his own practice based in Bloomington, Minnesota. Mason, a more than 25-year industry veteran who also previously worked as an adviser at Merrill Lynch, was most recently a senior portfolio manager at UBS. He managed about $80 million in client assets at the firm and generated $800,000 in revenue last year.
Mason said he decided move his book of business out of a big firm because he felt that Wall Street was becoming too focused on pushing structured products, such as leveraged securities, that were more geared towards generating commissions and less in the interest of his clients.
“It was time to separate from that because my business is one that has always been advisory-based,” Mason said in an interview on Monday, noting that he chose to partner with Concert because of the back-office support the firm provides. “I like being a part of a larger RIA (registered investment adviser) rather than purely on my own.”
As an independent, Mason said his clients now have the ability to choose which third-party firm should clear their securities. His clients can choose, for example, Fidelity Investments or Charles Schwab as a clearing platform.
“I wanted the independency for clients to decide who is the right custodian,” he said.
After leaving UBS, Mason formed Fontis Investments LLC, offering advisory services through Concert Wealth Management. He said he plans to eventually bring on board other advisers to join his practice.
Concert Wealth Management, based in San Jose, is a registered investment adviser and a subsidiary of Concert Global Group Ltd, founded in 2005 by Chief Executive Officer Felipe Luna. Concert also added three former Merrill advisers since the start of the year, based on moves tracked by Reuters.