Jim Hays, head of Wells Fargo Advisors

Wells Fargo named Jim Hays as the new head of Wells Fargo Advisors, with prior WFA leader David Kowach now set to lead the firm’s Community Banking unit.

The news comes as the bank begins its fifth month without a permanent CEO.

“These new roles and leaders will help advance Wells Fargo’s top three priorities — focusing on our customers and team members, meeting the expectations of our regulators and continuing the important transformation of the company,” said interim CEO Allen Parker, who took over when Tim Sloan departed on March 28.

As of June 30, Wells Fargo Advisors included 13,799 FAs and some $1.7 trillion in assets. That’s down 29 from the prior quarter, 427 from the second quarter of 2018 and 1,287 from Sept. 30, 2016, when news of some 1.5 million fake accounts and 500,000 credit cards in the Community Bank operations came to dominate headlines.

(Check out this timeline of Wells Fargo’s scandals)

“Advisor headcount at [Wells Fargo Advisors] stabilized as we had our best recruiting quarter since 2016 in terms of both the number of hires and the associated production,” according to a statement.

Hays’ Background 

Hays has been with Wells Fargo since late 2005 and most recently led its newly formed Private Wealth Financial Advisors group, which includes advisors grouped in hubs that serve high-net-worth clients.

Earlier, he was in charge of both Wells Fargo’s Private Client Group and Wealth Brokerage Services. He started his career at Merrill Lynch in mid-1997.

According to Jonathan Weiss, head of Wealth & Investment Management, “Jim is a strong leader with deep experience in numerous brokerage channels. He has long modeled collaborative approaches across Wells Fargo to serve complex client needs in the best way.”

As for Kowach, he will be in charge of some 68,000 community banking employees, including that at Wells Fargo’s 5,400 bank branches. He has been in the business for over 25 years and joined Wells Fargo in 2000. Previously, Kowach led the Private Client Group and Business Development. He also was head of National Sales at Evergreen Funds (a predecessor to Wells Fargo Asset Management).

“David’s experience running Wells Fargo Advisors — one of Wells Fargo’s most distributed, regulated and customer-centric organizations — will help us move Community Banking forward as we continue our transformation,” Mary Mack, head of Consumer Banking, explained in a statement.