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Wells Fargo Ups Recruitment Bonuses to Grow Brokerage Ranks

Wells Fargo Advisors will increase recruiting offers by as much as 50 percent.

By Elizabeth Dilts

May 25 (Reuters) - Wells Fargo & Co will offer more money in recruitment bonuses to financial advisers after competitors announced plans to pull back from recruiting, two people familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

The bank's wealth management unit, known as Wells Fargo Advisors, will increase recruiting offers by as much as 50 percent, according to two people briefed on the changes who asked not to be named because they were not authorized to discuss them publicly.

The extra money will show up in the upfront bonus checks brokers receive when they join Wells Fargo, as well as in their deferred compensation, which is paid out after several years. The increase was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

"Attracting the industry's top talent will always be a priority for Wells Fargo Advisors," said spokeswoman Emily Acquisto in a statement. "We've been disciplined in recruiting and it has worked for us. Adding great advisers and new clients has helped us grow in key markets."

Wells Fargo's move comes after three primary rivals, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America Corp and UBS AG announced they were cutting recruiting budgets.

While some of those firms, known in industry parlance as the "wirehouses," have said they will continue selective recruiting, it has left an opening that Wells appears to be stepping into, the sources said. Wells has traditionally offered less compensation than the other three big Wall Street brokerages, so the increase puts it at or near what its competitors had offered until recently. (Reporting by Elizabeth Dilts and Dan Freed in New York; writing by Dan Freed; Editing by Lauren Tara LaCapra and Cynthia Osterman)

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TAGS: Industry
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