As a branch manager earlier in his career, David McWilliams often noticed that some well-qualified candidates turned down job offers. “It became obvious to me, as I interviewed people, especially women, that they didn’t want to be on commission. So I lost a lot of really good people because of our pay structure,” he recounts.
Now McWilliams, head of UBS’s wealth management transformation team, is in a position to take on some of the industry’s sacred cows, like the insistence that new recruits hustle to bring in as many dollars as they can. A year ago, UBS launched a new wealth management training program. It placed 50 of its 300 to 350 new hires in a salaried position within an established team. For two years they will work with a financial advisor to change the culture within the firm into one that’s based on financial planning. “My whole training as a broker was around products, and making sure you understood the products you were selling,” McWilliams says. “Now it’s all needs based and a lot of times those needs have nothing to do with investments.”