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Firms Slug It Out Over Credit Suisse Advisors

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(Bloomberg) -- Firms are fighting over Credit Suisse advisors in the wake of Wells Fargo's recruitment deal with the Swiss lender, a top bank executive said.

“There’s a little bit of a feeding frenzy for some of the higher-end producers," David Carroll, head of Wells Fargo’s wealth- and investment-management division said. Carroll said 211 of Credit Suisse’s roughly 270 advisors already have been flown to St. Louis, where Wells Fargo Advisors is headquartered.

Wells Fargo reached an agreement last month with Credit Suisse giving it the inside track on recruiting the Zurich-based lender's advisors as it retreats from managing wealth for U.S. clients. The deal would allow U.S. advisors and clients to move to the wirehouse by early 2016, the banks said.

“We’re going through the process of acquainting them with our company, our capability,” Carroll said. “The reaction we’ve gotten is very good.”


The deal gives Wells Fargo access to more detailed information than it would normally get about customers, their investment portfolios and the products that Credit Suisse marketed to them, a person with knowledge of the arrangement said last month. Wells Fargo plans to offer retention bonuses to the advisors, the person said.

Still, Wells Fargo typically offers “much lower” retention bonuses when recruiting advisors from other firms than its competitors, Carroll said.

“We unabashedly tell people, if you’re out for the biggest check, there’s probably somewhere else that will write that for you,” he said. “We’re selling a long-term view, a partnership.”

Wells Fargo is seeking to boost its wealth management business, the smallest of its three main divisions, as Credit Suisse shifts strategy under new CEO Tidjane Thiam. The business contributed more than 10 percent to Wells Fargo’s net income in the three months ended in September, up from roughly 8% two years earlier, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

--With assistance from Dakin Campbell.

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