* Hays to move to unit selling products to bank clients
* Hays was president of Wells's private client group
* Wells seeks replacement to head private client group
By Jed Horowitz
NEW YORK, Oct 4 (Reuters) - Wells Fargo & Co has transferred Jim Hays, a veteran wealth management executive who had run its large brokerage network, to oversee a smaller group of brokers at the bank's branches.
It is the latest in a series of executive changes this year at Wells Fargo Advisors, the third-largest brokerage network in the United States, with more than 15,000 financial advisers.
As executive vice president and head of wealth brokerage services, Hays will oversee 3,800 advisers and support staff who sell stocks, bonds and other investment products to "mass affluent" bank clients with more than $100,000 of investable assets.
He will also manage Wells' group of in-branch private bankers who solicit business from wealthier clients and the investment services the bank provides to community banks.
Wells Fargo Advisors is conducting a search to replace Hays as president of its private client group, the largest of its brokerage business with more than 11,000 advisers in standalone brokerage offices. Hays had run the unit since 2005.
The change comes as Wells steps up attempts to cross-sell investment products to its core banking clients and to market loans and other bank products to its wealthy brokerage clients. Banks have for decades strived to dig deeper into customers' wallets, with limited marketing success.
Hays replaces Mary Mack, who moved from the brokerage services group in July to become president of Wells Fargo Advisors' financial services group. It creates and contracts for products to sell throughout Wells's bank and brokerage networks.
Kent Christian, a Wells Advisors veteran who had run the products group, moved earlier this year to lead its Financial Network, or FiNet, a group of independent brokers who affiliate with the larger brokerage for support and regulatory services. As part of the daisy chain of management changes, former FiNet head John Peluso now runs First Clearing, which provides record-keeping and loan services to Wells Fargo Advisors and smaller broker-dealers.
California-based Wells moved strongly into U.S. brokerage services when it bought Wachovia Corp. for about $12.7 billion during the heart of the financial crisis in January 2009. Wachovia's securities subsidiary was one of the four largest broker-dealers at the time.
In 2011, Wells sold Wachovia's H.D. Vest brokerage unit, which specialized in selling financial products through accounting firms, for $153 million.
Hays joined Wachovia Securities to head its branch brokerage system in 2005 after an 18-year career in wealth management at Merrill Lynch. Former Wachovia Securities executive Danny Ludeman remains president and chief executive of Wells Fargo Advisors.