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Unit Formerly Known as Wells Fargo Asset Management Snags Another State Street Exec

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What You Need to Know

  • Chris Baker is exiting the Boston-based asset manager to serve as chief compliance officer of the firm, now called Allspring.
  • He'll report to another State Street Global Advisors alum.

The private equity firms buying Wells Fargo & Co.’s asset management business for $2.1 billion have poached another executive from State Street Global Advisors to build out the legal and compliance departments of the rebranded company, Allspring Global Investments.

Chris Baker is exiting the Boston-based asset manager to serve as chief compliance officer of Allspring, where he’ll report to another State Street Global Advisors alum—Kate McKinley, who joined Allspring in August as chief legal officer. She’d served as State Street Global Advisors’ general counsel for nearly three years. 

Baker and McKinley will join incoming Allspring CEO Joseph Sullivan, who is leaving his chief executive role at Legg Mason Inc. He succeeds Wells Fargo Asset Management CEO Nico Marais, who is retiring but will continue to serve as a senior adviser at Allspring. 

Chicago-based GTCR and Reverence Capital Partners in New York announced in February that they were acquiring WFAM, which will become Allspring, an independent company, after the deal closes later this year.  

“This transaction represents a significant milestone in the growth and evolution of our firm,” Marais said in an earlier news release. “Through this new partnership, our business will be even better positioned to execute our strategy and provide our clients with innovative products and solutions to help them reach their investment goals.”

The deal follows Wells Fargo’s massive fake-account scandal and subsequent failure to enact compliance measures, which resulted in the bank’s paying a $3 billion penalty. The former general counsel and CEO incurred multimillion-dollar fines.

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Michael Whitaker has served as WFAM’s compliance chief and executive vice president since 2016. His next move was not immediately clear.

Attempts to speak with Baker and representatives for Wells Fargo, GTCR, Reverence and State Street Global Advisors were not immediately successful. 

At State Street Global Advisors, Baker oversees a global compliance program and team that advises the world’s third-largest asset manager on regulatory change, product development and jurisdictional expansion. He’s responsible for periodic risk assessments, risk-based monitoring and compliance reporting to the company’s leadership. 

“We promote a strong compliance culture by training employees on internal policy, monitoring controls, maintaining positive relationships with regulators, and ensuring we conduct business using the highest ethical standards,” Baker notes on his LinkedIn profile.

Baker has more than 20 years of compliance experience in the financial industry. Before joining State Street Global Advisors in 2010, he worked for nearly 12 years at MFS Investment Management, where he served as assistant VP of global investment support.