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Wells Fargo Nabs FAs from Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley

June 21, 2019

After more than two years of steadily shedding advisors in the wake of a bogus account scandal at its banking unit, Wells Fargo's recent effort to reverse the trend seems to be working, according to news reports.

The firm's private client group managed to lure at least five representatives from Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley over the past three weeks, AdvisorHub writes.

Michael Charne and Brett Levy have joined Wells Fargo Advisors in Dallas, the industry news website writes. The pair had been with Merrill Lynch for close to a decade, according to BrokerCheck, and generated roughly $2 million annually, a person familiar with their practice tells AdvisorHub.

Merrill Lynch didn’t return the website’s request for comment and Charne declined comment.

In addition, Leo Robinson, an 11-year veteran of Morgan Stanley, has joined Wells Fargo Advisors in Boston as a managing director, according to AdvisorHub, which cites BrokerCheck.

David Butler, a 10-year veteran of Morgan Stanley who had gone there after 16 years with Merrill Lynch, has joined Wells Fargo in Baltimore, the website writes. Neither Robinson nor Butler returned AdvisorHub’s requests for comment.

Kevin Giddens has joined Wells Fargo in Valdosta, Ga., the website writes. He too had worked at Merrill Lynch and then Morgan Stanley during his 17-year career, according to AdvisorHub.

Giddens didn’t want to discuss why he left Morgan Stanley with the website, but did say that he wanted to continue working at a large firm with a wide selection of brokerage as well as banking offerings.

A Morgan Stanley spokeswoman didn’t respond to AdvisorHub’s request for comment about the departures.

Wells Fargo has lost advisors in almost every quarter since the late 2016 revelations about thousands of its retail bank employees opening millions of fake credit and debit accounts.

(Getty)

In 2018, the firm lost 576 advisors. But in January, Wells Fargo raised its signing bonuses for experienced brokers to as much as 325% of trailing production, AdvisorHub reported at the time. While other wirehouses had offered bonuses that high before, they’ve since stepped away from the practice.

By Alex Padalka
  • To read the AdvisorHub article cited in this story, click here.