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Wells Fargo's FiNet snags advisers from 3 large firms

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Wells Fargo's FiNet President Kent Christian said in April that its pipeline for this year would be the biggest in its 15-year history. On Thursday, it added four more advisers from rival firms.

The large bank's independent advisory arm recruited from LPL Financial, UBS and U.S. Bank. They are part of the 2016 crop that Christian predicted will exceed the 102 planners it added in 2015.

The newest additions collectively manage more than $348 million in client assets, according to a statement. They include:

• Ex-UBS adviser John Witt, of Hinsdale, Ill., with $107 million in AUM.

• Former LPL advisers Bob Coombs and Anthony Ortiz, who run the Captiva Group in Newburgh, N.Y., with more than $176 million in client assets.

• Alexander Varela, of Little Rock, Ark., left U.S. Bank, who brings $65 million in AUM.

"The goal for our team moving forward is to grow our business," Coombs and Ortiz wrote in a statement for Financial Planning. "We felt FiNet had the tools available to help us achieve this much faster and easier."

The pair, who had affiliated with LPL via their former employer First Niagara Bank, said they decided to leave after LPL sold Niagara to Cleveland-based Key Bank.

That sale would have forced them to drop their LPL affiliation, they wrote, prompting them to search for a new broker-dealer.

They considered Commonwealth, Raymond James and Smith Barney, before deciding on FiNet. "We thought the professionalism as well as the structure offered by FiNet would be a great fit for our team," they said.

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