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Wells Fargo’s losses multiply with departure of $600M advisors

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Advisor departures from Wells Fargo escalated with the recent exit of two teams that managed $600 million in client assets.

Wells Fargo’s loss was William Blair and Ameriprise’s gain, as the two competitor firms added veteran talent to their broker rosters.

The beleaguered wirehouse has suffered from heightened advisor attrition since a phony account scandal came to light in 2016. That and other regulatory headaches have plagued Wells Fargo, resulting in the resignation of former CEO John Stumpf and more than $1 billion in fines and other penalties. So far this year, more than 230 advisors managing over $26 billion in client assets have left the company to join rival firms, according to FINRA BrokerCheck data and company announcements.

The losses do not include advisors retiring or leaving the industry for other reasons.

Some of the departing advisors pointed to negative headlines and what they claim is an burdensome bureaucracy as reasons for their moves.

The team that left for William Blair included veteran advisors Dan Furhman, Gary Garabedian and Bob Hill and client relationship associate Michele McMahon. The group oversees more than $300 million in client assets and serves high-net-worth clients, according to their new employer.

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Hill and Garabedian have 51 and 42 years of experience, respectively, according to FINRA BrokerCheck. Furhman started his career 17 years ago. The team joined William Blair in San Francisco.

In a statement, Furhman pointed to William Blair’s reputation and culture as reasons for his team’s change of employers.

“The firm has accessible and expansive resources available to their clients and we’re excited to serve the San Francisco market,” Furhman said.

William Blair, a boutique wealth management firm in Chicago, has selectively hired teams catering to wealthy clients. Last year, it picked up several wirehouse teams managing more than $1 billion in client assets. The firm has offices in 20 cities.

The second team defecting from Wells Fargo, advisors Stephen Craig, Robert Andrews and Robert Savage moved their $300 million practice to Ameriprise’s employee channel, according to a spokeswoman. They are based in Boston and report to David Shnitzer, complex director.

Ameriprise’s culture “was a fit with how we choose to work with our clients,” Craig said in a statement regarding the team’s move.

Craig had been with Wells Fargo since 2012, according to BrokerCheck records. He previously worked at Morgan Stanley.

Andrews and Savage moved to Wells Fargo from Merrill Lynch in 2011.

A Wells Fargo spokeswoman declined to comment on the advisors’ departures.

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