It probably would have been easier just to ask John Peluso what he hasn’t done during his tenure at Wells Fargo.
The president of Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network began his career in the financial services industry in 1988 at Wheat First Securities (now Wells Fargo Advisors). After three years in the operations group, he moved to the clearing business to lead marketing and product development. He then spent time as the western wholesaler for new broker-dealer business development for First Clearing Corp.
Prior to his latest gig with the firm, he was the managing director for Wells Fargo Advisors’ Private Client Group, in charge of business development for retail brokerage recruiting.
He knows Wells Fargo, and he knows the various distribution channels, which makes him especially qualified to lead the firm’s independent channel—that’s right, a bank with an independent channel.
“The model came from a desire to attract and retain the best financial advisors in the country,” Peluso says, when asked about the network’s genesis. “When we started it 11 years ago, we evaluated industry trends and it was obvious to us that the ‘best’ often didn’t want to work in a company-owned shop. They wanted to be able to choose how to affiliate. I call it having a car in every lane, because you never know what lane will move fastest or furthest.”
What differentiates the model and the network, Peluso says, is the unique intersection it occupies in the industry.
“Our advisors have all of the resources that Wells Fargo offers behind them,” he explains. “They’re able to marry that with the ability to own and operate their own business. No one else occupies that space; it’s something completely different.”
Do the straight wirehouse reps the firm employs view the independent channel with suspicion?
“The franchise wins when we compete for the best available advisors,” Peluso answers, before adding “but the advisors self-select the channel that is most appropriate for them. And any competition is really driven by the advisors themselves rather than among our business units.”