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Wells Fargo loses 3 advisors with $279M to 2 rivals

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Three former Wells Fargo advisors managing a total of $279 million have recently left the firm in pursuit of what they say are greener pastures.

This year has been a tough one for Wells Fargo in terms of advisor attrition. At least 200 brokers have left the wirehouse for competitors, according to FINRA BrokerCheck and company recruitment data.

The departures have picked up amid scandals in the consumer bank that first broke out in 2016, followed by increased scrutiny in the firm’s wealth management division.

The most recent departures include a duo who managed $185 million while at the wirehouse. The advisors, Benjamin Lewis Jr. and Christopher Amys, moved to Raymond James’ independent broker-dealer. This was their first career move.

Lewis was at Wells Fargo and predecessor firm A.G. Edwards for 22 years, according to FINRA BrokerCheck. Amys spent nine years at the wirehouse.

“Our decision was primarily based on Raymond James’ reputation for putting clients first and allowing advisors to manage their businesses the way they know best,” Amys said in a statement.

The two advisors are operating their independent practice, Elk Mountain Wealth Partners, out of Asheville, North Carolina. Their team includes is Brianna Parkins, client relationship manager, Becky Lewis, office manager, and Tanya Frisbee, operations manager.

The advisors did not respond to a request for further comment on the move.

The other advisor to depart Wells Fargo in recent weeks is Robert Lepa, who managed $94 million at the wirehouse, according to his new employer, Ameriprise. He is based in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, and operates from Ameriprise’s employee channel

“They have a high degree of professionalism with a desire to help advisors serve their clients and grow their businesses," Lepa said in a statement.

Dynasty, Raymond James and Stifel are among the biggest beneficiaries of recent advisor moves.
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Lepa, a 35-year industry veteran, had been with Wells Fargo and A.G. Edwards since 1995, according to BrokerCheck.

He did not respond to requests for further comment on his departure.

Another advisor, Randy MacNeill, also recently joined Ameriprise. He comes from Raymond James, where he has worked the past five years, according to FINRA BrokerCheck.

“The combination of strong management, support staff and financial planning tools - which are very advanced - compelled me to make the move," MacNeill said in a statement.

He had approximately $105 million in assets under management, according to Ameriprise. He works in the firm’s employee channel in Atlanta.

MacNeill did not respond to a request for additional comment.

A spokeswoman at Wells Fargo declined to comment on the departures.

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