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Wells Fargo loses manager who oversaw 8 offices to Steward Partners

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Steward Partners has hired a new divisional president to oversee growth efforts in New York and New Jersey.

Christopher Davis — a 30-year industry veteran and former Wells Fargo market manager — joins Steward as a divisional president, according to the independent firm, which is affiliated with Raymond James.

“Steward is growing in the northeast faster than ever and having someone like Chris at the helm will help ensure our future success in the region,” Steward Partners’ CEO Jim Gold said in a statement.

While at Wells Fargo, Davis oversaw more than 190 brokers operating from eight offices and overseeing $17 billion in client assets, according to Steward Partners. Wells Fargo declined to comment on the move. The wirehouse has been losing advisors in recent quarters, with headcount dropping by 258 year-over-year to 14,399 brokers at the end of the first quarter.

In his new position, Davis will help boost Steward’s growth ; he will also coordinate team strategy and training, oversee support for Steward’s advisory teams and direct team growth and succession opportunities, the firm said.

Davis, who spent 18 years at Wells Fargo, was drawn to join Steward Partners following a conversation with Gold, which Davis says hit on all the things he was looking for in an employer and “what a company should be.”

“Working for a major wirehouse was great, but left a lot of things to be desired,” Davis says. “I also knew I didn’t want to go fully independent because my role just doesn’t exist in a fully independent [model].”

“What I’ve watched [at Wells Fargo], for a period of time it really felt as though the policies and procedures were built for the lowest common denominator,” Davis continues. “You had some incredible and talented individuals at the firm yet they were being held back from either growth opportunities or developing their business because we had a lot of checkpoints.”

With Steward, Davis says getting in touch with decision-makers is easier.

The addition of Davis is the latest in a long line of recent hires at Steward Partners, mostly from wirehouses. In recent weeks, Steward Partners has recruited a $370 million team from Wells Fargo, a $900,000 advisor from UBS and a $180 million team from Merrill Lynch. In

March, the firm added its 13th office, located in Houston, as its expansion headed out West for the first time.

“We have advisors scheduled [to join Steward Partners] really throughout the summer,” Gold says of the firm’s recruiting efforts. “We do have an interest to grow out the tri-sate New York market and we hired Chris Barton down in Texas back in December and he’s working on growing our footprint down in Texas. But overall recruiting is phenomenally strong, there’s an incredible amount of interest in what we call full service independence.”

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