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Wells Fargo Combines Private Bank, Ultra-High-Net-Worth Arms

The leader of the merged operation, who is as-of-yet unnamed, will report to John Weiss, head of wealth and investment management.

By Hannah Levitt

(Bloomberg) --Wells Fargo & Co. plans to combine its ultra-high-net-worth business and private bank under one leader.

The merged operation will be run by someone yet to be named who will report to Jon Weiss, head of wealth and investment management, according to an internal memo. The two operations will retain their current branding and offerings.

Wells Fargo has made changes as it conducts an enterprise-wide review in the wake of a series of consumer scandals. The wealth unit has come under fire from regulators for potentially steering clients into investments that weren’t always in their best interest.

Jay Welker, Wells Fargo's head of wealth management and its private bank, this week announced he will retire at the end of March.

Like the larger Wells Fargo, the wealth unit is a collection of businesses from the bank’s predecessors including Norwest Corp. and Wachovia Corp. Combining the private bank and Abbot Downing, the ultra-high-net-worth unit, is part of Weiss’s quest to streamline his operation since he took over last year.

Wells Fargo has said it’s trying to find $4 billion in cost cuts by the end of next year. The San Francisco-based lender has seen elevated spending amid regulatory fines and legal fees. Weiss has said he plans to eliminate $600 million in costs by 2020 as part of that effort.


To contact the reporter on this story: Hannah Levitt in New York at [email protected] To contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael J. Moore at [email protected] Dan Reichl, Steve Dickson

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