Wells Fargo (WFC) beat analysts’ expectations, with Q3 earnings per share of $0.60, up 7% from last year’s third quarter. Profits for the quarter were the best ever, $3.34 billion, and for the nine months ended Sept. 30, 2010, was $8.95 billion, or $1.60 per share; that compares with $9.45 billion, or $1.69 per share, for the first three quarters a year ago.
Analysts’ consensus estimate was about $0.55 a share, and the bank’s profit from Q3 2009 was $3.24 billion, or $0.56 a share.
Wells Fargo said its wealth, brokerage and retirement unit, which includes 15,000-plus financial advisors, had revenue of $2.91 billion in the latest quarter, up from $2.87 billion in the second quarter and $2.77 in the same year-ago period.
Net income for the unit was $256 million, down from $270 million in the previous quarter but more than double $111 million reported in the third quarter of 2009.
Assets improved 5% from last quarter for the unit to $1.27 trillion, and managed-account assets were up 10%, the company says.
In addition, Wells Fargo reported that core deposits in wealth, brokerage and retirement grew 17% over the first quarter of 2009, when the merger with Wachovia took place. Loan originations by financial advisors grew 33% year to date.
In terms of its headcount, released separately from its earnings report, Wells Fargo says it had 15,088 financial advisors as of the third quarter, down slightly from 15,102 in the second quarter.
This keeps it in the No. 3 slot, behind Morgan Stanley with 18,119 FAs and Merrill Lynch with 15,340.
In addition, the company now has 4,569 licensed bankers vs. 5,094 in the prior period.
When these reps are included, Wells Fargo has 19,657 financial professionals, topping both Morgan Stanley and Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, which has 16,790 financial advisors (when U.S. Trust reps are included). However, BofA says it has a grand total of 19,761 financial professionals (advisors and others) in the organization — beating Wells Fargo by 104.
Overall assets at Wells Fargo have remained at $1.1 trillion. Including the bank professionals, this represents about $56 million in average assets under management per advisor. Excluding the bank reps, average AUM per broker is $73 million.
The company’s third quarter release credited record earnings to “the success of the Wachovia merger and the benefits of Wells Fargo’s steady commitment to our core business of helping customers succeed financially,” according to John Stumpf, Wells Fargo’s