Nov 14 Wells Fargo & Co said on
Wednesday that it added four adviser practices, with a total of
more than $1.1 billion in client assets, to the company's
independent brokerage division, scoring at least seven veteran
brokers from rival firms.
The new recruits, who joined Wells earlier in November, came
from Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management and UBS
Wealth Management Americas. The advisers joined Wells Fargo
Advisors Financial Network, or "FiNet," which caters to
independent advisers who also function as business owners.
"We wanted to run our own business," said California-based
adviser Michael Kazmer, who decided to go independent after
roughly three decades in the advising industry.
Kazmer, who managed $620 million in client assets with
fellow advisers Larry Bernstein and Abby Dinkins, moved with his
team from Bank of America's Merrill Lynch.
"We looked at the depth and the reputation and the market
cap of Wells Fargo, and it gave us a sense of comfort," Kazmer
said in an interview about his decision to go independent with
The advisers formed the KBT Group and are based in Westlake
Village, a wealthy community in the greater Los Angeles area.
MORE MOVES INTO WELLS
Also on the move, advisers Bryan Pieper and Gregory
Stringari joined Wells' FiNet from Morgan Stanley Wealth
Management, the brokerage majority owned by Morgan Stanley
and partially owned by Citigroup.
The advisers, based in Colorado, managed $270 million in
client assets. They joined Wells' office in Louisville - located
just outside of Boulder - and formed the Trailhead Wealth
In Connecticut, adviser Michelle Lavigne moved to Wells from
UBS Wealth Management Americas, the brokerage owned by the Swiss
bank UBS AG .
Lavigne, who had been at UBS for more than a decade, managed
$128 million in client assets at the firm. She joined the
existing FiNet practice Adaptive Wealth Management.
Wells also said it added Vermont-based adviser Bruce Scott
Wilson to its FiNet division, as previously reported by Reuters.
Wilson managed $110 million in client assets at his old firm,
Morgan Stanley Wealth Management.
Morgan Stanley declined to comment on the departures. Bank
of America and UBS did not immediately return a request for
San Francisco-based Wells Fargo & Co, which also has a
traditional employee broker-dealer and banking division, has the
third-largest U.S. brokerage by client assets, after Morgan
Stanley Wealth Management and Merrill Lynch. UBS's brokerage
business ranks fourth. The four firms often compete for similar
teams of veteran advisers.
Wells' brokerage business, based in St. Louis, has more than
15,000 advisers with about $1.2 trillion in client assets among
its brokerage subsidiaries. Roughly $55.5 billion of those
assets came from its independent unit, which now has more than
1,100 owners and advisers in more than 540 practices.