Wells Fargo Advisors
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Wells Fargo recently cut fees its employee advisors had to pay to move wells fargo advisors brokerage fees practice to the bank's independent broker-dealer, but a smaller fee remains in place for those wells fargo advisors brokerage fees want to exit the indie unit. That said, that policy could soon change, as well. The firm's channel-switching strategy, which includes a disaffiliation fee, is currently under review and a formal decision is expected in late February, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The unit, which is also referred to as FiNet, has about 1, brokers. It also represents a culture of nickel and diming the advisors all the way out the door. If they are interested in independence, we want to make sure they are talking to the home team," Kent Christian, president of Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network, told Financial Planning last month.
In recent years, increasing numbers of wirehouse advisors have been leaving to create independent firms or to join existing RIAs and regional BDs. Many have cited what they say is the greater freedom and flexibility offered by these other channels. Others have also pointed to superior technology offerings. Wells Fargo's headcount has suffered from these trends, with total advisor ranks dropping to 14, for the fourth quarter, down from 14, for the year-ago period, according wells fargo advisors brokerage fees the bank's recent earnings report.
A breakdown per channel was unavailable. While the firm has continued to recruit brokers to its independent and employee arms, Wells Fargo's ongoing regulatory woes have also damaged its brand, according to recruiters. Last week, the Federal Reserve barred the bank from growing beyond its asset size at the end of The Fed's unprecedented action stemmed from a fake account scandal at Wells Fargo that has cost the bank millions in regulatory penalties. The firm's disaffiliation fee would not likely deter advisors from leaving if they wanted to, according to recruiters.
It'd be annoying," says Michael Terrana, a Chicago-based recruiter. Rob Blevins, a recruiter whose brother and stepfather once had a practice with FiNet, says the independent broker-dealer is a "great firm," but the fee was "not advisor friendly.
Disaffiliation costs also include any debt incurred, third-party losses, customer claims, arbitration matters and outstanding promissory notes. Those obligations, including requirements that advisors repay promissory notes, are normal across the industry. But few independent broker-dealers charge advisors a disaffiliation fee for leaving, according to industry insiders. Raymond James, for example, imposes no such fee on advisors who wish to leave, a spokeswoman confirmed. Petersburg, Florida-based firm also does not charge advisors a fee for switching between its independent and employee channels.
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