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Wells Fargo Advisors head Mack remakes her old domain
February 7, 2014 / 7:25 PM / in 4 years

Wells Fargo Advisors head Mack remakes her old domain

NEW YORK, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Mary Mack, who last month became head of Wells Fargo Advisors, the second largest U.S. brokerage firm, has reorganized the sprawling strategy group she ran before her promotion.

In a memo to employees on Friday, the 51-year-old executive said she has split the Financial Services Group that was responsible for broker recruiting, products and technology into three units with their heads reporting directly to her.

She named only one leader, Joe Nadreau, who will continue to run the strategic solutions unit that she has renamed “Innovation and Business Strategy.” The other open roles in the technology and products areas will be posted next week and filled as soon as possible by outsiders or insiders, Mack said.

“What began as a search for someone to replace me (as head of the Financial Services Group),” she wrote in the memo, “led to a more comprehensive look at our overall structure to ensure it was the best one to lead us into the future.” The three team leaders will join Wells Advisors’ executive committee, she said.

The reorganization puts Mack’s stamp on the brokerage network of Wells Fargo Corp that had been run for almost 15 years by Danny Ludeman, who retired at age 56 at the end of 2013.

Some brokers said they had been impatient to see Mack’s plan, given that she spent the bulk of her 30-year banking career in areas outside retail brokerage. Their anxiety may have led her to announce the reorganization before personnel details were set, they said.

In an interview, Mack denied that the memo was sent impulsively. “I get asked a lot about my style, and it’s very collaborative,” she said. “The opportunity to share context around the new roles and our team was important.”

The functions of the financial services group that she ran for a year before her promotion have changed often since Wells Fargo Corp became a major force in retail brokerage after buying Wachovia Corp. In 2008, she said.

In addition to renaming the strategy group, Mack has created a new “Mobile and Online Group” to develop better ways for brokers to sell products and services to clients and to emphasize the need to invest in digital media that clients increasingly use for their financial needs, she wrote.

Major rivals such as Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley have recently invested heavily in platform technology that directs brokers to fee-based services the firms promote and embrace new technology. Mack declined to discuss the firm’s technology budget.

She also has made some personnel changes. Chip Walker, who ran broker recruiting and branch manager productivity is taking a new position in sales management. Wells is looking for two people to replace him for the essential job of recruiting and retaining brokers, according to the memo.

Mack also has moved chief administrative officer Mary Atkin to run Wells Fargo Advisors’ brokerage operations in St. Louis, the firm’s home base. Atkins, a veteran of the former A.G. Edwards brokerage firm that has been integrated into Wells, is not being replaced.

People in her group, which coordinated functions ranging from supplier planning and real estate to community affairs, are being deployed to other parts of Wells Fargo Advisors. The reorganization is not tied to staff reductions, Mack said.

Wells Fargo Advisors includes 11,000 brokers working with “affluent” clients out of brokerage offices in 50 states, about 1,000 brokers who work with less wealthy clients in Wells Fargo bank branches and another 1,215 “independent contractors” who buy services and products from Wells in exchange for about 10 to 20 percent of the revenue they generate.

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