June 5, 2012

Wells Fargo Names New FiNet Chief

Kent Christian tapped to replace the popular John Peluso, who moved to First Clearing

The Wells Fargo headquarters in San Francisco. (Photo: AP) The Wells Fargo headquarters in San Francisco. (Photo: AP)

Wells Fargo Advisors said Tuesday that Kent Christian is the new president of Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network (FiNet), the firm’s independent channel. Christian replaces John Peluso, who was recently tapped to become president of First Clearing Correspondent Services, a non-bank affiliate of Wells Fargo (WFC).

“Kent brings to FiNet essential experience, an informed perspective and leadership skills that will help us to further strengthen our firm’s attractiveness to a growing number of entrepreneurial minded, independent advisors,” said Wells Fargo Advisors CEO and President Danny Ludeman in a press release.

“His appointment to lead our independent advisor business underscores the importance we place on serving the needs of independent business owners,” added Ludeman. “It also affirms our commitment to the multichannel model that provides choice and flexibility to advisors and clients.”

Kent ChristianChristian (left) joined Wells Fargo Advisors in 2005 as president of the independent brokerage group, which includes FiNet. Most recently, he was president of Wells Fargo Advisors’ Financial Services Group.

“This is an exciting time for Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network, and I am excited to help lead a team of talented managers supporting strong independent business owners in their efforts to serve their clients,” Christian said in a statement. “In many ways, returning to the independent brokerage business is like a homecoming for me, and I look forward to leading this business at a time when its potential for growth has never been greater.”

While Peluso led FiNet, the channel grew to 1,100 financial advisors and more than $55 billion in client assets, topping $600 million in production.

"In general, FiNet’s yearly growth target is to help FAs open up between 75 to 100 new practices a year. And we believe this is sustainable,” he said in an interview earlier this year. “Including solo practitioners and teams, this entails about 140 to 200 advisors per year joining FiNet.”

The average production of FiNet advisors is about $530,000 in yearly fees and commissions, or $1.05 million per team. And prospective FiNet reps that Peluso and his colleagues at Wells Fargo are talking to these days are generating even greater production, he says.

Over all, Wells Fargo Advisors has about $1.2 trillion in client assets and includes about 15,134 full-service financial advisors and 3,352 licensed bankers.

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