Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network is winning over some higher caliber prospects.
Last year, FiNet added 102 financial advisors in 79 new practices, increasing the firm's total assets under management to $86.8 billion. Firm President Kent Christian attributes the growth to a shifting perception among high-net-worth advisors over the past couple of years.
“Our model, where a high-net-worth advisor/practice has access to the same products and resources they may be accustomed to at a large wirehouse are paired with the advantages that come with running and owning your practice/business,” Christian says.
Most recently, a former U.S. Trust advisor with $663 million in assets joined the firm this week, opening an independent practice Guidestar Private Wealth.
Jim Murray, a 22-year industry veteran who serves about 69 high-net-worth households—primarily business owners, left U.S. Trust on March 10 after seven years with the firm. The decision was prompted by his desire to become a business owner.
“What I realized is that like my clients who are business owners, I also wanted to be a business owner and get the rewards of continuing to build something that would truly be mine,” Murray says.
He was also drawn to Wells Fargo’s national brand.
But a key component to Murray’s plan was finding the right structure, he says. Murray found the support of an independent broker/dealer more attractive, as well as the benefits associated with continued access to a private bank, which his clients have come to expect.
“By aligning with Wells Fargo FiNet, I’m able to say I own this business, but I also have this great institution behind me that will house my assets, do my compliance—so I always have someone looking over my shoulder—that’s going to print the statements, and allow access to private bank and all they have to offer,” Murray says.
While the majority of FiNet’s recruits are still coming from the traditional wirehouse model, Christian says the firm has seen more independent financial advisors and teams looking to affiliate over the past year.