Wells Advisors names Vorlop to products post; vows tech advances

Wed Mar 19, 2014 2:25pm EDT

* Vorlop named to head products and advice

* Nadreau running business strategy

* Wells' brokerage subsidiary promises brokers technology improvements

By Jed Horowitz

NEW YORK, March 19 (Reuters) - Mary Mack, the new retail brokerage boss at Wells Fargo Advisors, has elevated Bob Vorlop to head of products and advice for the firm's more than 11,000 brokers as she fills out her management team.

The position is a new one, created when Mack in February split in half the financial services group that creates tools and products for the brokers. At the time, she named Joe Nadreau, 43, to run innovation and business strategy and said the products role would be filled soon.

Mack, who became president of the Wells Fargo & Co broker-dealer subsidiary in January following the retirement of long-time brokerage head Danny Ludeman, also plans to name an executive to head a new Mobile and Online Group, a spokeswoman said.

Mack previously ran the combined unit at Wells Advisors, which is the third-largest brokerage firm in the United States, as measured by number of financial advisers.

Vorlop, 56, oversees brokers' sale of loans and other banking products, an area of growing importance as bank-owned brokers such as Wells, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and UBS Wealth Management Americas attempt to sell products of their parent companies in addition to investment products. His group also oversees investment services and recruiting of brokers and branch managers.

Vorlop, who has been with Wells Fargo and predecessor brokerage firms such as Wachovia Securities for 30 years, had most recently run investment and advisory products.

Nadreau's innovation and business strategy group creates and manages processes and platforms that brokers use. Nadreau and Vorlop also have joined the broker-dealer's executive committee.

Like its competitors, Wells Fargo has been pouring money into new technology to make its products and services more accessible to clients and brokers. Wells' brokerage group has grown through a series of acquisitions that left it with numerous systems and workstations that did not always communicate effectively.

In an internal email to brokers last month, David Kowach, president of the branch-based private client group, said he has heard their complaints about poor technology and inefficient services and is addressing them. Improvements range from new scanners in all branches that he promised will eliminate "the frustration and inefficiency" of using faxes for service request for things like issuing checks and moving money to an upgrade of brokers' computer workstations to allow them to simultaneously see accounts of multiple clients.

Wells next quarter will roll out an iPad application that will let advisers access relevant client information remotely for in-person visits.

Kowach also promised that in late 2014 or early 2015, Wells will roll out a "360 Degree View of the Client" that allows brokers to see in a single location what clients own across all their accounts, all relevant information about their goals and other crucial information.

"Today our client information is all over the place - and that's been a big point of frustration that I've heard from you," Kowach wrote in the memo seen by Reuters. "Through the years, we've essentially quilted together a lot of different systems." (Reporting by Jed Horowitz; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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