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Top Women Wealth Mgmt Execs at Merrill, Wells and UBS

By Miriam Rozen March 17, 2020

Merrill Lynch, Wells Fargo and UBS Americas identified for FA-IQ the top women executives on their organizational charts.

Those women and their professional biographies are presented in the slideshow below. Morgan Stanley declined to participate in this listing, compiled in light of Women’s History Month.

Marina Shtyrkov, a senior analyst at research firm Cerulli Associates, believes broker-dealers should try to increase diversity hires by making use of professional women's networks, among other tactics. The wirehouses declined to provide the gender composition of their financial advisor rosters.

“Gender diversity remains low. There are only 42,097 women financial advisors, representing 14% of advisor headcount market share,” Cerulli researchers state in a report released earlier this month.

Within wirehouses, women financial advisors represent 15.2% of total headcount market, according to Cerulli.

“Firms will need to revamp recruiting and training programs and intentionally prioritize retention — removing barriers that disproportionately affect diverse candidates,” Shtyrkov says.

Parent companies of wirehouses have signaled recently that they’ve gotten that message.

Merrill Lynch’s parent company, Bank of America, for example, stresses its diverse workforce and number of women in upper management in its March 9 filing with the SEC.

The bank says women make up 45% of the company’s management team and 40% of the top three levels of the company. They receive — on average — greater than 99% of the pay of their male counterparts.

“Our own research has shown that stakeholders are placing increasing importance on intangible assets — such as employee talent and gender diversity,” the filing states.

Top Tier Wirehouse Women

Merrill Lynch, UBS Americas, Wells Fargo

Susan Axelrod, chief supervisory officer at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management What she does: Oversees supervisory risk culture. What she did: Oversaw Finra’s regulatory operations, including the SRO's fraud detection office. What she does outside work: Serves on New York City’s board of Girls Inc. and raises two children. Source: Merrill Lynch

Nancy Fahmy, head of alternative investments and specialty asset management for the investment solutions group at Bank of America. What she does: Responsible for providing Merrill Lynch FAs with platforms that include hedge funds, private equity, managed futures and physical precious metals. What she did: Worked at Deutsche Bank and Bankers Trust, where she was an over-the-counter derivatives specialist. What she does outside work: Serves on the Limited Partner Advisory Council for Sponsors for Educational Opportunity. Source: Merrill Lynch

Lindsay Hans, head of the Mid Atlantic Division of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management What she does: Covers 15 markets geographically including Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania. Leads more than 3,600 employees. Responsible for the division's $300 billion in assets and liabilities and more than $2.1 billion in revenue. What she did: Served as market executive for Philadelphia Metro Complex. What she does outside work: Keeps tabs on four children. Source: Merrill Lynch

Kirstin Hill, chief operating officer at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management What she does: Oversees growth strategy, practice management strategy, market planning, advisor compensation, field communication, recognition and national advisor development programs and develops metrics and reporting structures, including for FA compensation. What she did: Led Merrill Lynch teams responsible for personal retirement products and sales, market-linked investments, new issue debt and equity among others. What’s she does outside work: Ranks as a First Mover Fellow for the Aspen Institute. Source: Merrill Lynch

Lorna Sabbia, head of retirement and personal wealth solutions at Bank of America What she does: Responsible for institutional and personal retirement and preferred segment solutions across Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, Merrill Edge and Bank of America. This includes individual retirement, integrated benefits, as well as retirement income solutions and overall retirement education, planning, sales and product innovation. What she did: Drove the creation and implementation of investment advisory platform Merrill Lynch One. What she does outside work: Serves on the Women Against Alzheimer’s Leadership Council, the World Dementia Council and the business development committee for More Than Words (a Boston-based job training youth program). Source: Merrill Lynch, LinkedIn profile

Carole Wentz, head of the Texas Mountain South Division at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management What she does: Leads a team of more than 3,100 employees. Responsible for $284 billion in client assets and liabilities and $2.1 billion in revenues. What she did: Worked as FA in Dallas and Atlanta. What she does outside work: Raises twin daughters, now both in college. Source: Merrill Lynch

Marsha Askins, chief of staff at UBS Global Wealth Management and Americas What she does: Supports the global wealth management co-president and Americas president in executing the firm's key strategic initiatives, with a particular focus on supporting activities in the Americas region. What she did: Worked as UBS Americas’ chief communications officer. What she does outside work: Serves on boards for Urban Arts Partnership and Christ Church. Source: UBS, LinkedIn profile

Jolyne Caruso-FitzGerald, divisional vice-chairman at UBS Global Wealth Management What she does: Oversees the family office consultant business, which provides services to UBS Americas' registered representatives. What she did: Founded and served as CEO for The Alberleen Group, an investment advisory firm. What she does outside work: Serves on the advisory council to Columbia University’s Entrepreneurship Program. Source: UBS

Solita Marcelli, deputy chief investment officer, UBS Global Wealth Management What she does: Oversees UBS Americas' investment strategy for a $4 trillion in client assets and a 69-employee unit. What she did: Served as managing director and global head of fixed income, currencies, and commodities for J.P. Morgan’ Chase & Co.'s wealth management unit. What she does outside work: Raises a daughter and is an Aspen Global Leadership Network member. Source: UBS

Solita Marcelli

Kate Newcomb, operating head for UBS Global Wealth Management What she does: Responsible for the oversight of the front-to-back control environment for wealth management units in UBS Americas and UBS Latin America. What she did: Served as chief of staff for the UBS Americas president. Source: UBS

Jennifer Povlitz, head of the West Division at UBS Wealth Management What she does: Leads 3,000 employees in California, oversees $2.5 billion in revenues operation and serves on wealth management executive committee. What she did: Led Bank of America's and Merrill Lynch’s ultra-high-net-worth client services. What she does outside work: Serves as active member of Young Presidents Organization. Source: UBS

Julie Caperton, head of wealth client solutions at Wells Fargo’s Wealth & Investment Management division What she does: Leads the platform that consolidates the banking, trust, and business sales and advisory offerings and steers business development for wholesale lines. What she did : Practiced as a lawyer specializing in securities law and structured-finance. What she does outside work: Raises two children, two dogs, and fundraises for Christ the King Catholic High School, the Christus Rex Boosters organization, the North Carolina Dance Theater and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Source: Wells Fargo

Gwen Moertel, chief operating officer for Wells Fargo’s Wealth & Investment Management business What she does: Leads her office, asset setup and maintenance, and a special project related to client remediation. What she did: Worked as head of First Union Bank’s equity research technology and started in PwC's consulting division. Source: Wells Fargo

Julia Wellborn, vice president and head of Wells Fargo Private Wealth Management What she does: Responsible for managing all aspects of the Wells Fargo Private Bank and Abbot Downing business. What she did: Served as wealth management executive director of Comerica Bank, reporting to the CEO. What she does outside work: Serves on Baylor Health Care System Foundation and Boston University Questrom Advisory boards and active in Young Presidents’ Organization, International Women’s Forum, and Tocqueville Society of the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas. Source: Wells Fargo

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Tags:  Staffing and recruiting , Investment strategies , Retirement planning , Estate planning , Portfolio management , Family wealth/family office , Marketing , Succession planning , Bank of America , Cerulli Associates , Merrill Lynch , Morgan Stanley , Wells Fargo , UBS , Cerulli

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