© 2020 Arizent. All rights reserved.

Wells Fargo loses 5 advisors with over $400M in AUM

Register now

Five advisors with more than $400 million have jumped ship at Wells Fargo to work for regional broker-dealers instead, according to hiring announcements.

Regional firms have been aggressively courting wirehouse talent this year amid recruiting cutbacks at three of the big firms. Wells Fargo, unlike its chief rivals, has strived to keep up hiring efforts.

However, the beleaguered wirehouse has suffered from advisor attrition this year. Headcount, at 14,564 at the end of the third quarter, was down 3% compared to the year-ago period, according to the firm. Many advisors have left the wirehouse to go independent or join regional brokerages for what they say is greater entrepreneurial freedom, access to the better technology and corporate cultures. Wells Fargo has also suffered from bank scandals and heightened regulatory scrutiny.

Late last month, Wells Fargo lost a $1 billion team to Baird, in one of the year’s largest advisor moves.

Morgan Stanley alone lost 11 teams managing about $7 billion after its abrupt exit from the protocol pact, according to recent hiring announcements.
November 27

Among the recent moves are two veteran advisors who bolted to join RBC’s offices in Raleigh, North Carolina. Joseph Friend and Ross Gordon have 29 and 43 years of industry experience, respectively.

“We considered most firms that have a presence in Raleigh,” Friend and Gordon said in a statement. “After thoughtful due diligence, we chose RBC based upon the flexibility of the platform, goals-based planning tools and the people. It became clear to us that this firm has a genuine interest in the well-being of advisors and their clients.”

For RBC, the latest moves extend a recruiting trend that has brought over several advisors from Wells Fargo, including: a $200-million team that joined its Tucson, Arizona branch and a father-and-son team managing $395 million based in RBC’s Farmington, Connecticut.

The regional BD now has $323 billion in total client assets with approximately 1,800 financial advisors in 40 states, according to the company.

Janney Montgomery Scott, continuing its own hiring streak, scooped up another three advisors from Wells Fargo. The Philadelphia-based firm announced four new hires with a combined $260 million in client assets — three of which came from the wirehouse.

Ronald Gaillard joined the firm's office in Newtown, Pennsylvania. He oversaw $76 million in client assets, according to his new employer. Thomas Hagigh, who managed $78 million, has joined Janney's Baltimore office. And Stephen Zales has joined the firm's branch in Wyncote, Pennsylvania, also managing $78 million in client assets.

Separately, advisor David Varela, who has 24 years of industry experience and manages $48 million in assets, left Raymond James to work at Janney’s Boston office, a spokesman said.

Gaillard has worked at Wells Fargo or its predecessor firms since beginning his career in 1987, according to FINRA BrokerCheck records.

Hagigh had been with Wells Fargo in 2012, per BrokerCheck. Zales began at Merrill Lynch in 1992 and moved to Wells Fargo in 2003.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, click here.