After completing its merger with Wells Fargo, Wachovia has outlined its retention and branding efforts to advisors: Retention bonuses are not being offered, and the advisors will be renamed Wells Fargo Advisors in May.
“We looked at the issue of paying retention bonuses and concluded that it wasn’t appropriate,” said Wachovia Securities spokesperson Anthony Mattera. The level of public scrutiny given current economic and financial conditions, the market downturn and its impact on clients’ portfolios, and the fact that the Wells Fargo merger isn’t changing how advisors operate were some factors under consideration, he explains.
“The traditional retention bonus isn’t the way for us to go in this environment,” Mattera says. “But we did want to do something for advisors and also help clients.” Thus, the firm is refocusing on its “4front” best-practices program, which was rolled out a few years ago. 4front aims to encourage advisors to expand their fee-based business by rewarding them for high customer satisfaction and loyalty.
The Wachovia side of Wells now includes about 14,300 advisors. This represents 11,900 advisors who have been employees of Wachovia and A.G. Edwards, about 1,600 Wachovia bank-based Series 7 advisors, some 650 independent advisors, 160 Latin America-focused advisors, and related Series 7 staff. (In addition, Wells Fargo has more than 1,000 Series 7 advisors of its own.)
For 4front, advisors must complete financial plans using the company’s Envision software for at least 25 households with $250,000 in assets under management and up in order to earn up to 50 percent of their trailing-12-months sales/commissions/fees or production.