Wells Fargo Partners Bankers and Brokers

Bank brokers generally feel that one of the advantages of working for a bank is the referral business that comes down the pipeline. Now, Wells Fargo is taking action to increase that business. It's licensing bankers as reps so they can gain a deeper understanding of their clients' portfolios, and as a result, help refer more of their clients' assets to financial consultants. Wells Fargo, which has

Bank brokers generally feel that one of the advantages of working for a bank is the referral business that comes down the pipeline. Now, Wells Fargo is taking action to increase that business. It's licensing bankers as reps so they can gain a deeper understanding of their clients' portfolios, and as a result, help refer more of their clients' assets to financial consultants.

Wells Fargo, which has 1,200 financial consultants and 3,000 bank branches in 23 states, has paid for 30 bankers to earn their Series 7 and Series 66 accreditations, with expectations of 200 passing the exams by year's end, says David Skolnik, managing director of distribution and growth. (The firm has also stepped up recruitment of experienced brokers, Skolnik says.)

With the additional licenses, bankers can provide more advisory services to existing clients and help brokers establish more contacts with people who have developed a comfortable relationship with their banker, through partnership arrangements.

Skolnik says the number of referrals from banker to broker has increased dramatically. In the first quarter of 2001, the number of monthly referrals from banker to broker averaged 5.83; in the first quarter of 2002 (the bankers were licensed at the end of last year), referrals increased to 9.24 a month.

Without this partnership, Skolnik says, financial planning business is inevitably lost. Brokers don't necessarily have the ability to cover the waterfront when they're servicing an area that includes several bank branches. The firm has one banker for 1,600 households, but only one broker for every 9,000 households.

In this partnership between banker and broker, the two parties share a rep number and, for one year, split the revenue that results from the referral before the revenue is transferred to the broker.

Skolnik says that eventually licensed bankers will likely handle a bit of brokerage business on their own, but the goal remains to have the partnership between the two parties.

Phones Not Ringing?

With client interest in investments evaporating in the bear market and the summer doldrums fast approaching, even the most successful financial advisors may find themselves with time on their hands. Here are our Top 10 suggestions for how to make productive use of that time:

  1. Try to break the Guinness record for stacking matches on the top of a bottle. It now stands at 8,146.

  2. Play 18 holes of golf entirely with one club, preferably your sand wedge.

  3. Visit every Anna Kournikova Web site.

  4. Create your own Anna Kournikova Web site.

  5. Enroll in a course on plumbing, a business without cycles.

  6. Come up with colossal trades to boost your fantasy baseball team out of last place.

  7. Figure out how much you would have made if you'd shorted Enron at $50. Then figure out how much you would have made if you shorted it at $5.

  8. Read Marcel Proust's “Remembrance of Things Past” — in the original French.

  9. Make sock puppets and act out an interview from Squawk Box.

  10. Swallow your pride and make a cold call.

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