RPT-ON THE MOVE-Wells Fargo adds big teams to independent channel

Mon Jul 29, 2013 5:01pm EDT

July 29 (Reuters) - Wells Fargo & Co added several veteran financial adviser teams to its independent division in recent months, including a five-adviser team from Morgan Stanley Wealth Management in Virginia.

Advisers Larry Hensle, George Fleeson, Mike Harper, Steven Skonberg, and Scott McLaughlin joined Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network, or FiNet, in June, the company said Monday. FiNet is Wells Fargo's independent broker-dealer for advisers who also function as business owners.

The Reston, Virginia-based team, known as Tysons Wealth Advisors, managed a combined $529 million in client assets and produced $3.7 million in annual revenue at their previous firm.

This is one of several teams that have joined FiNet from Morgan Stanley Wealth Management in recent months, Wells Fargo said Monday.

In Glenview, Illinois, the brother-sister advising team of Ralph Lynch and Maureen McPeek joined FiNet from Morgan Stanley in May, Wells Fargo said. The pair managed $406 million in client assets and had $2.5 million in annual revenue production at their previous firm.

Also in May, Highland, New York-based advisers Ed Burke and Jeff Altomari joined FiNet from Morgan Stanley. The pair, who make up the Hudson Valley Financial Group, managed over $165 million in client assets and had over $1 million in annual revenue production at their previous firm.

A spokeswoman for Morgan Stanley confirmed the departure of all these teams of advisers, but declined to comment further.

FiNet has also been hiring advisers from Bank of America Corp's Merrill Lynch Wealth Management.

Alpharetta, Georgia-based advisers Scott Christian, Cecil Loyd, and Mike Masters left Merrill for FiNet in May, Wells Fargo said Monday. The team, known as Praxis Financial Partners, had $345 million in assets under management and $2.9 million in annual revenue production at their previous firm.

A spokeswoman for Merrill Lynch declined to comment for this story.

At the end of last year, FiNet had $68 billion in client assets and nearly 1,200 owners and advisers. Aside from FiNet, St. Louis-based Wells Fargo Advisors has a traditional broker-dealer, in which advisers are employees of the firm.

This overall brokerage business includes more than 15,200 advisers who manage about $1.5 trillion in client assets, as of June 30. The company didn't break out quarterly data for FiNet in its June report.

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