A 26-year veteran of Merrill Lynch, McCann took a risk taking over the unit at the Swiss banking giant. At the time, advisors were leaving in droves, UBS' reputation, like many global financal firms, was falling thanks to bailouts and the market collapse, and financially the unit was stagnant. Rumors persisted it would be spun off or sold.
After McCann took over, he did two things that turned the ship: Sharpened its focus and successfully turned it into a boutique, concentrating on keeping the advisory force small and nimble (UBS has a bit more than half the advisors of the other big Wall Street brokerages) yet upping production minimums and setting the pace for recruitment bonuses to lure top talent.
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