As departures continue at Wells Fargo Advisors in the wake of scandals at its parent company and within its own operations, the unit is reworking some of the leadership at its independent advisor channel — WFA Financial Network, or FiNet.
On Monday, FiNet named Tim Boostrom — the former head of national recruiting for the indie channel — as the regional head of FiNet’s Southeast operations. Joe Gianino, who led FiNet’s business development group for nearly five years, was tapped as regional head of the Great Lakes.
“Unless these are new positions, it’s likely that these two posts are being filled due to management exits over frustration with recruiting difficulty in the current environment,” said recruiter Jon Henschen in an interview.
According to Wells Fargo, the ex-head of FiNet in the Southeast — Charles Cornett — left for another firm. But the former Great Lakes manager — Jason McLaughlin — moved to a leadership role with the Private Client Group in Chicago.
Cornett is now the director of business development for BNY Mellon’s Pershing Advisory Solutions. He left the FiNet role a year ago — after more than 11 years at Wells Fargo — for a position at HighTower Advisors, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Advisors aren’t likely to join FiNet or other channels of Wells Fargo “until the bad news is flushed out” and Wells Fargo is out of the press, Henschen said. “The market has to perceive that there’s a half-year-plus of no new press and then heal. Until then, the situation is very sketchy.”
A group of FiNet advisors managing about $675 million in assets recently left Wells Fargo to form its own RIA — Landsberg Bennett Private Wealth Management of Punta Gorda, Florida. And last week, Raymond James said a team with four advisors and $1 billion in assets had joined its employee channel in New York from Wells Fargo.
The FiNet news comes about two months after The Wall Street Journal reported that Wells Fargo’s wealth management business is set be reorganized, with segments of Wealth Brokerage Services and the Private Client Group possibly being merged.
The bank’s “Wealth and Investment Management group is reimagining our business to become more efficient,” a spokesperson said in a statement in June, but “no final decisions have been made.”
As of June 30, Wells Fargo Advisors included 14,226 advisors. That’s down about 300 from a year ago and 173 from the prior quarter, though the firm says retirement is behind 80% of departures over the past 12 months.
Also in the second quarter of 2018, the bank accrued a $114 million expense to refund wealth-unit customers who had been overcharged over the last seven years, along with $171 million for foreign-exchange clients.