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11. Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor

Industry Spotlight > Advisors

Wells Fargo Mistakenly Announces Death of Advisor Who Left Firm

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What You Need to Know

  • Wells Fargo sent a letter to some clients of an advisor who had left the firm, mistakenly saying he had died.
  • The company's former rep had broken away to join an independent firm affiliated with Kestra Financial.
  • Somebody accidentally pressed a button generating the inaccurate letter template, a source said.

Wells Fargo sent out a letter to at least some of the clients of a former advisor who worked for the wirehouse, breaking the news that he had died.

In reality, Robert Brian Watson didn’t die. He had just broken away from the firm.

Watson is currently serving as vice president, Private CFO at the hybrid RIA oXYGen Financial.

He is registered as an advisor and broker for Kestra Financial, after leaving Wells Fargo earlier this month, according to his report on the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s BrokerCheck website. oXYGen’s advisory services are offered through Kestra, according to its website.

Somebody accidentally pressed a button generating the inaccurate letter template that was sent out to some of Watson’s clients, an industry source told ThinkAdvisor on Friday.

“This was an unfortunate mistake, and we have followed up and apologized to all clients who received the initial letter,” Wells Fargo said in a statement. The company also apologized to Watson, it said.

Reached by ThinkAdvisor via phone on Friday, Watson declined to comment on Wells Fargo’s error or confirm if the firm had apologized to him, saying: “Unfortunately I can’t make any comments on that. We’ve got active stuff going on with legal.”

But he said, with a laugh: “It’s good to be alive and I’m very thankful to be with oXYGen Financial. Kestra is my broker-dealer.”

Watson has been a broker for 10 years, first with Northwest Mutual Investment Services, from March 2012 until he left to join Wells Fargo in November 2014.

AdvisorHub was the first to report the news, on Thursday. “Like you, we are saddened by the death of our colleague and your Financial Advisor, Brian Watson,” the letter said, according to the news site. “Brian certainly will be missed by all.”

The letter was signed by Arthur Sinkler III, another advisor/broker in the same office Watson had worked for, who stated in the letter he was “fully committed to continuing Brian’s legacy serving your investment needs,” according to AdvisorHub.

Sinkler did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

(Image: Bloomberg)