Tag Archive for: Wells Fargo

The Wells Fargo Wagon – Now a Ferrari

Wells has just planted a monster flag in Manhattan with their new modern offices in Hudson Yards, cementing its foothold in the PWM space by acquiring one of the largest teams in the nation from UBS PWM.  Founded by brothers Andrew and Todd Perry, a 14-member team is said to be generating $20M on $5B in assets under management. Andrew’s 35-year career originally began at Salomon Brothers before co-founding the Perry Group at Merrill Lynch in 1998 with Todd. In 2002 Andrew and Todd became Managing Directors at Deutsche Bank before then joining UBS in 2008.

This is not the Wells most advisors think they believe it is. Damaged severely by the 2008 scandal and subsequently losing almost 4,000 advisors, the firm has taken well over a decade to completely revamp senior leadership, almost every product group, down to most every manager in the field. Wells is an undervalued story and if you look underneath the hood you may realize this is a firm that will allow advisors’ businesses to flourish. 

Barry Sommers, former head of JPM Private Bank and Securities, and now the new Head of Wealth Management at Wells has totally streamlined the many disparate businesses, including getting rid of all the salary/bonus private bankers and allowing traditional private client advisors to help manage and grow the massive relationships of the private bank, the commercial bank, and the investment bank. 

This is in direct opposite of how the JPMorgan Private Bank operates with their JPM Securities division and also the direct opposite of what is now happening at BOA with their Merrill division. 

This is a conscious decision from top leadership to be either a Private Bank or Brokerage Firm. Seemingly, Wells is copying First Republic Bank where the Commercial lending book of clients was handed to financial advisors to build upon these relationships and grow massive books. Wells’ balance sheet dwarfs FRB’s, which dominates the jumbo mortgage market with about 70% market share in CA and almost 40% nationally. Apparently, Wells pays an average of 1% recurring rev for almost every type of loan an advisor places which is an unheard-of commission.

Most big firms have PWM divisions like ML PBIG, MS PWM, and UBS PWM.  The architect behind ML PBIG over 30 years ago was a legend in the business, named Jim Hayes, who created the identical division within Wells PWM Platform. Those early pioneer advisors who join this boutique PWM within Wells stand to reap huge referrals.  They’re essentially looking to direct more UHNW referrals to their incentivized PWM Financial Advisors and dramatically increase their investment banking and commercial banking referrals from $9 B to $25B a year – no inflation needed here.  

The new CEO, Charlie Scharf, has  solidified executive leadership who is a Jamie Dimon protégé and proven leader at VISA and BNY Mellon, who is a Board member of Microsoft and importantly, whose father was a financial advisor. This new leadership team demonstrates a new culture from the very top that positively flows all the way down the ladder all across the nation.

Trust me, this wagon isn’t slowing down, if you want to hitch on do it while the opportunity is here.

The Perry Team is the tip of the iceberg of aggressively recruiting the biggest and most top talented advisors in the country, offering  some of the largest transition packages we have ever seen in the business. A recruiter source tells us, “no firm comes close to their massive Upfronts, Backends, Deferred Matches, GRID payouts and Retirement packages. I’m astounded by the deals I’ve been able to negotiate and just shows how committed this firm is to recruiting.”

Finally, if an advisor cares to eventually transition to Independence, Wells is one the world’s largest custodians with about 50 BD’s allowing advisors a very smooth, no papering of clients, transitions with a 90%+ 1099 payouts. No firm has this offering.


The sleeping giant has woken and morphed into a recruiting powerhouse.

$2M J.P. Morgan Advisor Heads to WF and Yet Another to RayJay

Wells Fargo Advisors hired a $2 million producer from J.P. Morgan Advisors in Los Angeles on Friday.

Steven Tann began his career in 1987 with J.P. Morgan Advisors’ predecessor, Bear Stearns, but resigned two years later to pursue a 17-year career in television and film production.

Roger Gershman, an industry recruiter said “The Wells Fargo Private Wealth initiative is really resonating with advisors. Especially when combined with the talents of Paul Vannuki.” The complex manager brought on another PWM team last year, David Romans and Teresa Fisher from JPMS. The dynamic duo generated $4M+ in revenue. “The deals WF is offering are unprecedented. It really is a great combination of a new PWM platform, support, and deal ” says Gershman. Phil Sieg, who took over as CEO of J.P. Morgan Advisors in April last year has stated that he aims to quadruple the present headcount of roughly 450 brokers yet every month there is greater attrition than additions.

Wells Fargo has also been aggressively recruiting with top-tier packages and local managers who do not recruit face significant penalties this year. The rate of attrition shows a large improvement. Across the country in Coral Gables, Michael R. Revilla and Manuel A. Bernárdez joined the J.P. Morgan traditional brokerage firm in Coral Gables, Miami, last Tuesday. According to Forbes, who rated Revilla #428 on its list of the top next-generation advisors in 2021, they managed roughly $285 million in customer assets.

An unnamed source at JPMS said “the systems and ops an atrocity. We feel like the adopted step-child of JPM Private Bank. All the offices across the country have similar concerns. ” Gershman confirms whereas JPM has a terrific name and reputation, clients have no idea how much the advisors struggle under the old the legacy Bear Sterns division and are at their whit’s end with back-office administration and compliance oversight.

Revilla joined Raymond James’ predecessor Morgan Keegan & Co. in 2005. According to his former website, he also served as an associate market director for Raymond James’ Miami-Dade complex in 2018. According to the FINRA BrokerCheck database, Bernárdez began his career with Raymond James in 2014.

J.P. Morgan Advisors, which has been led by former Merrill private wealth executive Phil Sieg since April last year, has implemented a number of policy and compensation changes in order to address common broker complaints though that has apparently not stemmed the tide. The division, which is a modest part of J.P. Morgan’s $700 billion-asset-under-management Wealth Management division and dwarfed by its private bank, has mostly targeted major wirehouse producers but the competition for talent has become more fierce to retain and lower attrition.

Wells Emphasizes Broker Retention in Manager Comp Shake-Up

Wells Fargo Advisors’ market leaders and branch managers could face steep pay cuts next year if they lose brokers or fail to bring in new ones as the firm digs in on an aggressive retention and recruiting strategy and seeks to turn around years of attrition, according to sources with direct knowledge of the changes.

As part of its 2022 update to manager compensation, Wells will adjust the criteria for receiving a key element of their annual bonus called the Performance Award to more directly penalize for drops in headcount, according to current and former managers familiar with the plan. The award, which had been based in part on net revenue growth, will next year instead include gross retention and recruiting with all arrivals and departures counting the same regardless of their years of experience or revenue, they said.

One Wells market leader, speaking on condition of anonymity, said he could see up to a 45% reduction to his performance award if he did not bring in a recruit and lost brokers. That compares to what he estimated would be a 10-15% hit at the extreme end for lost revenue under the current plan. (While the percentage breakdown varies from manager to manager, most compensation packages are around 40% salary and 60% bonus, according to the same market leader.)

The new stick is among many carrots that Wells has added for managers and external recruiters to help it rebuild as its sales force has fallen to 12,552, down 9% from the prior year and 17% from over 15,000 in 2016 when its parent bank’s fake account scandal came to light. It comes as Wells also announced earlier this month it would be sweetening pay for its core private client group brokers next year.

The plan was rolled out in recent weeks to about 70 market managers who oversee the field of hundreds of branch managers, according to the sources.

“Managers and leaders are responsible for growing the business across both Wells Fargo Advisors and The Private Bank,” Wells Fargo spokeswoman Shea Leordeanu wrote in an emailed statement. “Their compensation plans fully align with [the Wealth & Investment Management division’s] business objectives, while effectively managing risk.”

Leordeanu declined to confirm the specific figures cited by the manager but noted that the recruiting and retention factors were two of four to be included in next year’s performance award, which will also measure net asset flow and lending growth.

While sources said net trailing-12 revenue had served as something of a proxy for headcount in previous years’ award, the change appeared to be a direct effort aimed at focusing on filling seats as the firm was becoming more averse to declines. Under the current net revenue measure, managers had been able to offset smaller departures with a single large hire during the year.

“Now, the firm’s position is if your headcount is negative–and that headcount includes trainees, underperformers, whoever it might be and regardless of how much or how little revenue they do–if more people leave the firm than you successfully bring in, then your compensation is going to be negatively impacted,” the current manager said.

Wells is also reining in a separate recruiting bonus it had paid managers and will make positive recruiting and retention a condition to receive the full amount. Managers were able to receive up to 8% of a successful candidate’s trailing-12 revenue, but next year will receive 4% upfront and an additional 4% only if they achieve positive headcount growth, according to the market leader.

In their favor, the wirehouse also told managers it will not penalize them next year for brokers who leave a private client group branch but stay in the Wells system by moving to its Financial Network independent unit, the sources said. While the move was a relatively small tweak, it was “definitely good news,” the current manager said.

A former Wells manager, who also spoke on condition of anonymity because he did not have permission from his current employer, noted that while the compensation cuts could be steep for underperformers, the plan overall still includes a number of above-market rewards for those who are growing their market.

“The firm is basically saying, ‘Listen, we’re gonna cut your top if you’re not growing, but if you are hiring, we’re going to pay pretty well,’” the former executive said.

Original Article: Advisor Hub

2022 COMP: Wells Fargo Adopts Single Monthly Hurdle, Sweetens Growth Bonuses

Wells Fargo Advisors told its core group of brokers on Thursday that it is consolidating its monthly pay hurdles to a single threshold from three and sweetening bonus opportunities for brokers who grow revenue, client loans, and assets under management.

While a small fraction of the firm’s roughly 10,000 private client group advisors could see a haircut in pay, Wells Fargo Advisors executives said that it will overall result in higher earnings and compensation expenses for the firm in 2022, an unusual change in the often cost-conscious tweaks that major brokerage firms make each year to their plan.

“We are focused on growing the Wealth & Investment Management business, which we’ll do by attracting and retaining the best advisors in the business, increasing net asset flows, and increasing lending balances,” Barry Sommers, the head of Wells’ Wealth and Investment Management division that houses the Wells Advisors unit, said in a statement.

Wells brokers next year will have to hit a single hurdle of $13,500 in monthly production in order to jump from a 22% to a 50% payout rate, executives said. Under the 2021 plan, they had an opportunity to qualify for a lower $12,500 threshold and a higher $14,250 depending on achieving certain production or client-care targets.

The $13,500 hurdle could result in a small haircut for brokers who had qualified for the lower $12,500 option earlier, but that would only affect about 5% of the force, according to John Alexander, head of the Divisional Network for Wells’ Wealth business. The decision to streamline comes after Wells this year raised its hurdles by $1,000, the first increase in seven years.

Wells is also making it easier for brokers or teams who generate over $2 million in annual revenue to qualify for a flat 50% payout. The 2022 plan will eliminate targeted training and best-practice eligibility requirements for the flat payout rate.

In a nod to some broker qualms, the new plan also excises a client segmentation requirement that advisors have 75% of their roster as clients with $250,000 or more in assets to qualify for the flat 50%. (Brokers still face a reduced 20% payout on households under that threshold, which they are encouraged to send to call center brokers or trainees.)

The Wells managers also increased and uncapped deferred compensation bonuses that pay out over five years in an effort to encourage brokers to gather more assets and boost client loan balances.

Wells’ net asset flows award will include a new tier for brokers who add at least $5 million and will pay 50 basis points on new money over that amount. The firm is also removing a $250,000 cap on the award, meaning some brokers could see “very very large awards” next year, according to Wes Egan, head of partnerships, teams, and succession planning for Wells’ Wealth division.

Wells Advisors is also eliminating a $100,000 cap on a lending bonus, which pays brokers a deferred credit of 50% on a mortgage or one-time loan revenue and 150% of the growth in securities-based or similar loans generating recurring revenue based on a 2021 baseline. (Brokers must produce over $400,000 to qualify.)

It is keeping the same length of service and revenue-based deferred bonuses, which could pay up to 10% more in deferred pay at the top end.

“All the best advisors should be here,” Alexander said. “If you want that to happen, then you have to have a competitive comp plan that pays people for doing a really good job for clients and doing the right thing.”

The high payouts match with Wells’ willingness to open its wallet with top-dollar recruiting deals to advisors who join from the competition and perks to headhunters who source the leads. It has been doing so in an effort to hire above-average producers and also to replenish its brokerage ranks, which have fallen to under 13,000 from more than 15,000 in 2016 prior to its parent bank’s fake account scandal.

“Wells Fargo has become a target for recruiters,” to hire out of, said Andy Tasnady, a compensation consultant, who was not involved in crafting the Wells plan. Overall, he said, the Wells 2022 plan will likely be a “net plus” for many advisors, and thereby help the firm boost retention, but the new benefits will be bestowed mostly on big teams and big producers.

Roughly 10,000 of Wells’ brokers are in the core private client group, while the rest are in the firm’s bank-based channel, the independent broker-dealer or the private bank, according to previous tallies that had been included on company websites.

The bank-based brokers, which were integrated with the private client group in 2018, will continue to be paid on a more typical wirehouse-type pay grid that pays between 22% or 46% of revenue. The firm is sweetening the pot next year for bank brokers by eliminating a 12.5% payout penalty on households referred by the bank.

“We want FAs to get referrals from the consumer bank, so we’re going to take that penalty away,” Egan said.

As part of their efforts to further integrate the units, Wells executives “entertained” the possibility of unifying the PCG and bank-based advisors’ compensation plans, but ultimately decided against it for now, Alexander said.

​​Wells’ relatively small tweaks for 2022 mirror positions taken by its rival wirehouses Morgan Stanley Wealth Management and Merrill Lynch, which also mostly avoided raising hurdles for brokers next year.

UBS Wealth Management USA made more dramatic changes, unveiled in November, to its 2022 plan, which retooled its broker pay grid and bonuses and raised pressure on lower producers.

Original article: Advisor Hub

A Dynamic Recruiting Conversation: “Should we even consider Wells Fargo?”

In a lengthy discussion with a team that seems determined to leave JP Morgan Securities, multiple points of the recruiting and due diligence process were uncovered. Given the depth of the conversation, the highlights seemed to be noteworthy and of value to the wealth management discussion.

With assets under management and revenues at all-time highs across the industry, recruiting is white-hot. Deal percentages are at the highs, while hurdles inside deals are near all-time lows. It is a seller’s market in every way.


You happen to be tethered to a Wells Fargo logo. The conversation is much different given the missteps that have come from that firm in the past 24 months. Whether it be fraudulent account openings or a newly minted CEO making racially insensitive remarks, Wells Fargo has stumbled its way to where it currently resides – a recruiting afterthought.

Here is how that conversation went last week:

“Should we even look at Wells Fargo? I’ve heard their deal is big, but will the fog ever lift from that place? Leaving JPM and the brand itself is really our only challenge with client transition – I can’t imagine the extra weight explaining a move to Wells Fargo would entail.”

“Are serious teams really going there or is it just straight-up money grab? It feels like anyone that goes there is striking a massive almost off-book deal. That’s just our perception. Merrill Lynch is probably a more interesting name than Wells at this point.”

Oof. Merrill (a division of Bank of America) is more interesting right now. If there was ever more painful wealth management recruiting take we’ve yet to hear it.

But that is where Wells Fargo finds itself. The biggest deal on the street, paying recruiters up to 10% deal fees, and adjusting deals for teams in any way possible to lure them into the fold.

As the saying goes, “desperate times call for desperate measures.”

Wells Fargo Rebirth? Even Offering The Largest Recruiting Deal On The Street Isn’t Working

Its well understood that wealth management recruiting is white-hot. White. Hot. It’s a seller’s market as even middling advisors and teams are in a position of strength, commanding premiums on stated deals in the wirehouse space.

So what to make of Wells Fargo’s position? It’s simple really, no matter what they’ve tried (apologies, congressional appearances, new CEO, and executive leadership) the narrative is largely negative. Advisors have nearly zero interest in Wells Fargo as a destination. That’s not an exaggeration, it’s an ‘on the ground’ fact.

Advisors’ current view of the firm is a fallback at best, and a ‘no chance I’d consider them’ at worst.

A year ago it looked like Wells Fargo may have been turning the corner, and then… the newly minted CEO made a boneheaded comment about diversity on a conference call. In today’s corporate environment, that was an epic mistake. Any momentum that may have been building died right there.

Wells has been attempting to employ the ‘money talks and bullshit walks’ approach to recruiting, effectively offering the largest deal on the street. It hasn’t mattered.

Will Wells Fargo eventually make it back to being a meaningful player in the wealth management recruiting landscape? Maybe, but it’s far from certain.

UBS Destroying Recruiting Rivals

NEW RECORD: UBS Destroying Recruiting Rivals; Adds More Than $30B In Net New Assets Through April

UBS has taken over the high-end wealth management recruiting market and is showing no signs of letting up. Through the first four months of 2021, ending in April, UBS has added more than $30B in client assets to the firm’s US wealth management operations. Everyone else is scrambling to figure out why and attempting to play catch up.

Somewhere, deep in the bunker that is the UBS recruiting department in Weehawken, NJ, a decision was made nearly a year ago to make two strategic pivots: value private bankers in the same way they value traditional advisors and remove all the hurdles from their traditional rivals deal. An explosion occurred.

Here is a short (but nowhere near all-inclusive) list of the biggest moves to UBS through 2021:

  1. J. P. Morgan Private Bank, Dallas $10B
  2. J. P. Morgan Private Bank, Los Angeles $6.5B
  3. J. P. Morgan Private Bank, Miami $5B
  4. J. P. Morgan Private Bank, Atlanta $9B
  5. Wells Fargo Private Bank, San Diego $2B
  6. BofA Private Bank, San Francisco $2B**a little math above, that’s already more than $30B. Wow.

This recruiting run is unprecedented. Historic. Never been done before. Ever. $30B in four months? There has never been a firm that has approached that number in 6 months across the history of wealth management recruiting.

For comparison’s sake, Rockefeller is currently having a banner year in recruiting with $10B in recruited AUM. So fully an entire 2/3 behind UBS. And if recruiting chatter is any indication, expect UBS’ success to continue.

As we’ve discussed in previous articles the keys to this surge have been the aggressive move into private banking and the removal of all hurdles for teams at firms like Merrill and Morgan Stanley. Other traditional rivals like Wells Fargo and Rockefeller continue to pitch asset/revenue matrix models with hurdles year over year. Effectively, UBS’ has brought a fully guaranteed deal to market.

The response?? The numbers don’t lie – it’s historic.

UBS Lands ‘Couture’ Team In Miami – Female Led WF Private Bank Group Adds $14M In Annual Revenue

UBS continues to dive deep into the private banking space to grab huge teams with massive assets and massive revenue streams. The private banking teams are also loaded with UHNW assets attached to groupings of households, family offices, and institutional accounts. The strategy is running on ‘full blast’ at the moment with another announcement just yesterday.

The announcement yesterday focused on a group that joined the Private Wealth division of UBS in Miami, and includes Doris Neyra and Melissa Van Putten-Henderson as well as highly regarded CSA Gina Jamurath. They had been generating $14 million a year in annual revenue, and we were passed a note that their assets are a smidge above $2.5B.

Those numbers have been consistent with the private banking ‘big game’ hunting that UBS has been focused on for the better part of 6-9 months at firms like JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, and Citi. This particular move out of Wells Fargo’s private banking operation is the first of its kind, and you can bet will widen the eyes of recruiters across the country.

Wells Fargo has struggled with advisor retention based on the client account opening scandal in their traditional wealth management channels. Their private banking ranks have been largely untouched… now, all bets are off. Expect more of these announcements to make their way to competitor firms over the second half of this year.

As per the private wealth division at UBS – its ranks continue to bulge as each of these types of private banking teams are slotted into that ’tier’ of the UBS ecosystem here in the US. It is quite obvious that UBS is making a bet on a calculated and aggressive lunge upmarket. Across the globe UBS remains the largest wealth manager amongst its peers. A few global investment banks may have larger market caps and other divisions that denote larger overall banking scale; but UBS is solely focused on asset management. In that category they lead and are having enormous success selling that set of facts.

This isn’t a blip on the radar for UBS and private banking hires, rather its a movement. Expect these announcement to increase in frequency and increase in size. Whispers abound that even larger teams are on their way to UBS (potentially 2-3x the size of this team in Miami), and the private banks they’ve been exiting from have yet to figure it out.

Scandal Toll – Four Years Later Wells Fargo Advisor Attrition Hits 20%

A few decisions by long since gone employees at one of the nations then most well run and prestigious banks has officially brought Wells Fargo to its knees.

In a painful and ongoing damage control and rebounding reboot that has lasted four years, Wells Fargo has watched its sterling name (remember, Wells Fargo used to be Warren Buffet’s favorite bank and famously didn’t need a financial crisis bailout) take multiple beatings. The ultimate fallout has made its way to wealth management.

Wells Fargo’s wealth management conglomerate stood at better than 15.1k advisors a few months before the fake account scandal made headlines. Now, the number just broke below 13k. A staggering loss of talent given the resources Wells has thrown at the problem.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that Wells Fargo has the biggest recruiting deal on the street. Larger advisors and teams can command 200% of a 350% deal upfront, when they walk in the station wagon logo’d doors at their new firm. That is a record number for wealth management recruiting, historic even.

Even as the firm has exchanged Chief Executives three times in the past four years, have the biggest deal on the street, and is willing to pay recruiters a 10% fee for their introduction services – momentum has still yet to see a net plus in advisor headcount.

It’s worth wondering how bad things would’ve gotten for their wealth division had it not extended such an eye-popping deal to the advisor public. The only reason advisor headcount isn’t -30% is because they’ve been hyper aggressive in recruiting.

At a minimum you’ve gotta give WF executives credit for acting fast and bringing a heavy cash duffel bag.

Still, at what point does the turnaround take hold and bear fruit in bolstered wealth management numbers? We don’t know.

Maybe as the saying goes, “time heals all wounds.”

Big Checkbook! Wells Fargo Outbids Rivals For $5.3M Merrill Lynch Team

If you want the biggest recruiting check, mows the time to hitch your wagon to Wells Fargo (see what we did there). The firm remains the most aggressive recruiter in the wealth management universe and it probably isn’t close.

Their stated deal (meaning, if you are a viable candidate or team from ML, MS, or UBS) is 340%. That’s is where the bidding begins. We’ve seen deals reach 375% with upfront checks tipping the scales at a cool 200%. Cha fucking ching!!

This past week a large team in TN migrated from (yes, you guessed it) Merrill Lynch and hit the bid in a big way. As we hear it, the upfront approached 200% and the total deal surpassed 360%. Take a look at their team profile and then let’s run the numbers…

Wells Fargo hired a team that included Will David Coleman, Jeremy Stephens, Justin Webb, and Steven Ragan. The group was annualizing revenue at $5.3 million a year. Based in a Merrill branch in the suburbs of Nashville, TN the group manages over $680 million in client assets.

Now for a little math. $5.3M in annualized revenue at 200% is $10.6M when they walk into the doors of their new Wells Fargo offices. In total their deal could go beyond $19M all in. Not bad for a group of guys that effectively started their careers 10-15 years ago. Like we said, cha-ching!

The financial metrics associated with Wells’ recruiting strategy are fairly simple: roll out deals that are nearly impossible to turn down and outbid the competition by 30-40%.

In spurts, being the biggest deal on the street is working.