It looks like UBS has once again lost a high-profile team to Jefferies. This time it is the head of health-care investment banking at UBS, Benjamin Lorello. Bloomberg confirms that he is taking an entire team of bankers to Jefferies. Lorello’s departure was first reported on June 16th by Bess Levin of DealBreaker.
Lorello has been at UBS since 1999. He has a reputation of being a serious hard-arse. He reportedly demands that everyone working for him must be in their office by 9 a.m. or be marked late. The rule applied to everyone from junior analysts to managing directors.
It’s not clear how many people Lorello has taken with him. Bloomberg reports that the defectors include Sage Kelly and “a number” of other health-care bankers. DealBreaker reported that junior bankers only discovered the move when they showed up for work on the 36th floor of UBS’s offices at 299 Park and discovered their bosses were gone. We’ve heard that as many as 30 bankerrs may have left.
Update: Bloomberg reports that UBS is suing Jeffries, saying it lost almost its entire health-care investment-banking team. 36 employees in the group quit between June 17 and June 21. UBS is calling it a “massive, premeditated raid.”
Back in 2001, Lorrello reportedly called Jefferies a “low quality firm” with “no track record.” But, then again, a lot has happened to the allegedly high-quality firms since then.
Bloomberg strongly implies this is all about compensation:
UBS bankers are leaving after the bank said in January it cut its bonus pool for 2008 by more than 80 per cent. Bankers to announce departures this year include Chris Ryan, head of credit fixed income; Jeffrey Sine, head of technology, media, and telecommunications investment banking; and Rob Rankin, head of investment banking in the Asia-Pacific region.
Earlier this month Jefferies hired five of UBS’s top quants, a deal that was also said to be driven by compensation concerns.
Lorello took Richard Scrushy’s HealthSouth public in 1986 when he was at Salomon Smith Barney. He continued to advise the firm at UBS, including through the prosecution of Scrushy on charges he almost bankrupted the company through accounting fraud. Scrushy as found liable in a civil trial last week. He was acquitted on all criminal charges earlier.