July 29, 2013

Wells Fargo Adds 34 Teams, $5.4B to Independent Channel

Recent groups have come on board from rivals like Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch and UBS

Wells Fargo (WFC) said Monday that it added 34 teams and some $5.4 billion in assets under management to the bank’s independent-advisor channel during the first half of 2013. The bank says this is “the second-most successful half-year recruiting effort in its history.”  (Its top recruiting results came in early 2009, when the financial crisis led many wirehouse and other advisors to seek out new career options.)

With the latest additions, the Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network (or FiNet) includes 577 practices composed of 1,205 financial advisors. Overall, Wells Fargo has 18,608 registered reps, 15,268 of which are financial advisors; most of the rest–2,930–are in-bank advisors, with the remainder–408–working with clients via phone.

Kent Christian, president, Wells Fargo Financial Network“Our success in the first half of 2013 is a testament to our commitment to a client-first culture,” said Kent Christian (left), president of Wells’ Financial Network, in a press release. “Our advisors are advocates for their clients’ best interests, and we believe they are the cornerstone to our success.  We’re pleased that more and more advisors are seeing the independence of Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network as the right fit for themselves and their clients.” 

Some teams that joined Wells in May and June came on board with over $100 million in assets. They joined from wirehouse rivals–Morgan Stanley (MS), Merrill Lynch (BAC) and UBS (UBS).  

Tysons Wealth Advisors of Reston, Va., moved from Morgan Stanley recently to FiNet with close to $530 million in client assets and $3.7 million in yearly fees and commissions. The group includes five advisors: Larry Hensle, George Fleeson, Mike Harper, Steven Skonberg and Scott McLaughlin.

Also moving to FiNet from Morgan Stanley are advisors Ralph Lynch and Maureen McPeek of Lynch McPeek Wealth Management of Glenview, Ill. The brother-and-sister team has 51 years of total industry experience. The practice has about $2.5 million in production and $406 million in client assets.

“Going independent allows us to own our own practice, make decisions at the local level based on our clients’ unique needs, and still have the backing of one of the largest financial institutions in the country,” said McPeek, in a statement. “With Wells Fargo’s strength and stability backing our independent practice, we hope our clients find comfort knowing their assets are held at one of the most well-known institutions and that Lynch McPeek Wealth Management will continue to evolve to enhance their client experience.”

J.D. Joyce opened J.D. Joyce Investment Management Group with FiNet in Houston after leaving UBS. With more than 19 years of financial-services experience, Joyce has roughly $1.8 million in production and $306 million of client assets.

 “I've always considered myself an entrepreneur,” explained Joyce, in a statement. “Having opened my first business when I was in high school, I've longed to have the opportunity to run my own company again, and now this goal has become a reality. Not only am I able to offer quality advice to my clients, I now have the backing of one of the most well-known financial institutions in the world behind the endeavor. ”

In Highland, N.Y., the Hudson Valley Financial Group joined FiNet from Morgan Stanley with about $165 million in assets and over $1 million in annual production. The group’s advisors are Ed Burke and Jeff Altomari, who have 36 years of combined experience in the financial-services industry.

“We feel Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network is highly focused on serving clients and providing us the tools to do that in our local communities,” said Burke, in a statement. “Though we’re independent, we liked that the name and stability of Wells Fargo resonates very well.  The response from clients has been overwhelmingly positive.”

Tysons Wealth Advisors located in Reston, Va., also joined Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network from Morgan Stanley Smith Barney.  Combined, the team of advisors–Larry Hensle, George Fleeson, Mike Harper, Steven Skonberg, and Scott McLaughlin–has over a century of industry experience, $3.7 million in production and $529 million in assets under management.

In Alpharetta, Ga., Praxis Financial Partners came to FiNet from Merrill Lynch. Scott Christian, Cecil Loyd and Mike Masters have 58 total years of experience, $2.9 million in yearly fees & commissions and more than $345 million in assets under management.

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