"I have pretty much staked my whole career on the

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Sep 12, 2009 9:28 am

Former Wachovia brokerage firm has come out stronger, executive says



JOHN REID BLACKWELL TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER

Published: September 12, 2009



After a tumultuous two years, the former Wachovia Securities brokerage is coming out in a stronger position, its top executive said yesterday.



"Our people have been through a lot this last year, and our clients have been through a lot," said Daniel J. Ludeman, president and chief executive officer of Wells Fargo Advisors, the new name for the formerly Richmond-based Wachovia Securities.



"Given what has happened in the marketplace and given what occurred with Wachovia, I don't think we could have ended up with anybody better than Wells Fargo," Ludeman said.



Wachovia Securities' merger with St. Louis-based A.G. Edwards in 2007 led to the transfer of 600 employees from the Richmond area to the combined company's headquarters in St. Louis. An additional 1,200 jobs were cut in Richmond.



Then came the mortgage meltdown and financial crisis, which led to Wells Fargo & Co. acquiring Wachovia Corp.



Wells Fargo's brokerage arm, formerly named Wells Fargo Investments, and Wachovia Securities are now combining their operations under the name Wells Fargo Advisors. At Wachovia Securities' local offices, signs will soon reflect the name change. The company also has an advertising campaign scheduled to start this weekend to promote the new name.



The name change is important, Ludeman said.



"It is important that people understand what the brand stands for," he said. "We would like for Wells Fargo Advisors, and Wells Fargo, to be known as a company that provides holistic, peace-of-mind life advice. We are not just offering our clients investment solutions. We want to be the firm that can handle their total financial needs."



About 900 employees remain in the Richmond area, including about 200 financial advisers.



"We are committed to Richmond, and we plan on growing our financial adviser base here," said Ludeman, who lives and works in St. Louis now but visits Richmond about every six weeks. He serves on the board of trustees at the University of Richmond; he was in town yesterday to attend a board meeting.



The combination with A.G. Edwards in St. Louis is essentially complete, Ludeman said. The transition to Wells Fargo Advisors is still under way.



Wells Fargo's brokerage arm has about 1,300 financial advisers, with significant management operations in Minneapolis, but Ludeman said the changes from combining the operations will not be as dramatic as it was with A.G. Edwards.



The former Wachovia Securities offices in the Richmond area, including some in the Riverfront Plaza building downtown, continue to consolidate. Eventually, most of the local employees will work at an office on Innslake Drive in western Henrico County.



The transition has been sometimes painful, but necessary to grow in an industry where size and scope have become increasingly important, Ludeman said.



"We are seeing the bigger getting bigger, and most are affiliating with retail banking organizations," he said. "I have pretty much staked my whole career on the fact that I believe that is the right model, an integrated retail banking and retail brokerage model. It is the right model for the client."



The combined Wachovia Securities and Wells Fargo brokerage is the second largest in the nation, with 15,500 financial advisers and about $1 trillion in assets, Ludeman said.



"One of the huge advantages of being combined with the new Wells Fargo is they are very far along with having more of an integrated platform between retail banking and retail brokerage," he said. "They have spent a lot of time over the years developing, primarily through technology, abilities to link client statements.



"From a convenience perspective, clients can not only do all of their financial services in one place, but it provides a lot more transparency," he said.



size and scope







"I have pretty much staked my whole career on the fact that I believe that is the right model, an integrated retail banking and retail brokerage model. It is the right model for the client."



"I have pretty much staked my whole career on the fact that I believe that is the right model, an integrated retail banking and retail brokerage model. It is the right model for the client."



"I have pretty much staked my whole career on the fact that I believe that is the right model, an integrated retail banking and retail brokerage model. It is the right model for the client."



"I have pretty much staked my whole career on the fact that I believe that is the right model, an integrated retail banking and retail brokerage model. It is the right model for the client."







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Sep 12, 2009 10:56 am

The club membership of former wire-house executives who "staked their career" on the universal banking/brokerage model continues to grow. Ludeman may soon be joining.

 
I have 3 insurance guys. One for home/auto, one for my business and one for health. Do I wish I could get all three types of coverage from one firm. Not really. I picked my insurance guys based on their expertise, not convenience.
 
I'm pretty sure most investment clients feel the same way. They don't need nor seek this universal model. If they invest with one firm and bank with another, that's ok by them.
 
The universal model, imo, is not client centric, as all these former wirehouse execs proclaimed, but rather firm and product centric. The universal banks hope that the modest conveneince factor will mask the mostly mediocre and expensive products that are pushed at their clients.
 
I'll stake my career on most clients being smarter than that!
 
Just my 2 cents.
Sep 12, 2009 10:57 am

Deja vu all over again.

Sep 12, 2009 10:59 am

Wow he is more dilusional than ever!

Sep 12, 2009 12:26 pm
Northfield:

The club membership of former wire-house executives who "staked their career" on the universal banking/brokerage model continues to grow. Ludeman may soon be joining.

 
I have 3 insurance guys. One for home/auto, one for my business and one for health. Do I wish I could get all three types of coverage from one firm. Not really. I picked my insurance guys based on their expertise, not convenience.
 
I'm pretty sure most investment clients feel the same way. They don't need nor seek this universal model. If they invest with one firm and bank with another, that's ok by them.
 
The universal model, imo, is not client centric, as all these former wirehouse execs proclaimed, but rather firm and product centric. The universal banks hope that the modest conveneince factor will mask the mostly mediocre and expensive products that are pushed at their clients.
 
I'll stake my career on most clients being smarter than that!
 
Just my 2 cents.


You're exactly right.  And size and scope still = HOMOGENIZATION! One size fits all! EVERY client needs this...EVERY client should do this... It's the universal communist banking/brokerage model.  But I still say DL will be gone within the year.

Sep 13, 2009 12:33 pm

has this guy been living under a rock?  Did he not see what happened at Citigroup?

Sep 13, 2009 3:24 pm

"It is the right model for the client."  I wonder  if any of these bright bank mentality brain childs have asked the client what model the client wants.  Please please get rid of that "holistic" buzz word.

Sep 13, 2009 4:07 pm
UBScrewed:

"It is the right model for the client." I wonder if any of these bright bank mentality brain childs have asked the client what model the client wants. Please please get rid of that "holistic" buzz word.



Clients want someone (a person, not a company) that they can trust to give them honest advice. This isn't that tough.

Sep 13, 2009 5:57 pm
borei:
UBScrewed:

"It is the right model for the client."  I wonder  if any of these bright bank mentality brain childs have asked the client what model the client wants.  Please please get rid of that "holistic" buzz word.


Clients want someone (a person, not a company) that they can trust to give them honest advice. This isn't that tough.







 
I think you're right.  In my opinion, most clients that are appropriate for an advisory relationship are smart enough to understand that one person/firm cannot satisfy all their needs.  Personally, I would be suspect of anyone or firm that wanted my bank accounts, mortgage, life insurance, investments, P&C insurance, and health insurance.  Most people are willing to go to multiple points of service to get these, assuming they are getting good service/competitive rates, etc.  Over time, much of my personal banking stuff has migrated to BOA, but not by choice.  My bank was bought by them (after 3 rounds of previous mergers to get there), and my credit card was sold to them (by Citi).  My employer has their health care HSA through them as well.  So I have never consciously CHOSEN to work with Bank of America, but here I am.  I need to make the CONSCIOUS decision to move away from them, but inertia takes over sometimes.
Sep 13, 2009 8:52 pm

I think you're all wrong.  People want a single provider for financial services.  I was planning on putting ALL of my finances with Madoff, until a few months ago.