As part of a continuing effort to streamline its retail brokerage business, Wells Fargo & Company this week said it will sell its H.D. Vest financial services business to private equity firm Parthenon Capital Partners.
The definitive agreement follows industry chatter that emerged in May that Wells Fargo had been seeking a private equity suitor for the H.D. Vest business. Wells Fargo declined to comment on the matter at that time.
Parthenon is a mid-market private equity firm specializing in areas including financial services. Terms of the deal, which was announced on Wednesday, were not disclosed.
The decision to sell H.D. Vest came after Wells Fargo decided that its business did not coincide with its Wells Fargo Advisors retail brokerage. H.D. Vest’s business provides financial services to retail investors through its force of 4,800 securities licensed tax professionals.
Wells Fargo, by comparison, focuses on more affluent and wealthy clients through its force of more than 15,000 financial advisors throughout the U.S. The sale of H.D. Vest will not interfere with Wells Fargo’s business targeting independent financial advisors, the firm said in the announcement of the deal, which includes its Financial Network, or FiNet.
The deal marks the latest move from Wells Fargo to streamline its business as it continues to absorb the 2008 acquisition of Wachovia Corp.
In May, Wells Fargo announced it had created a new regional wealth management structure, a move that industry experts said at the time signaled further integration and cost-cutting as the firm trimmed five regional managers.
Following the transaction, H.D. Vest will continue to use the same products and services. H.D. Vest will also still use brokerage clearing services from Wells Fargo’s clearing business, First Clearing Correspondent Services.
H.D. Vest’s senior management, including Chief Executive Roger Ochs, and home office staff is not expected to change with the transaction.
Wells Fargo Securities served as financial advisor to the transaction, while Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP served as Wells Fargo’s legal counsel.
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