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Wells Fargo Launches Program for Advisors With Sports and Entertainment Clients

The Wells Fargo Sports and Entertainment Program will enable advisors to brandish the Sports & Entertainment Accredited Wealth Management Advisor (SE-AWMA) designation, created by the College for Financial Planning. 

A new Wells Fargo program aims to equip advisors with the tools to help sports and entertainment clients make sure their wealth lasts for the long term.

The Wells Fargo Sports and Entertainment Program will enable advisors to brandish the Sports & Entertainment Accredited Wealth Management Advisor (SE-AWMA) designation, the first-of-its kind professional designation created by the College for Financial Planning. 

It’ll help advisors deal with the unique needs of sports and entertainment clients, who often gain their wealth in sudden and uneven increments, according to Jeffrey Cosby, a head of affluent markets with the firm’s Wealth and Investment Management division’s Diverse Segments. He is also part of the team governing the new program.

“We want to help our advisors educate (clients) on how to make sure the wealth lasts throughout their lifetime, after the lights are turned off from acting or the last whistle is blown on the field,” he said.

Wells Fargo first began mulling a new program specifically tailored for sports and entertainment clients in April of last year, and a month later, the firm partnered with Kaplan, who was already offering the designation for certain firms. 

Wells also launched a committee with 14 advisors with a concentration of clients in these fields, asking them to speak with clients and use their own knowledge about the gaps that are particular to high-net-worth individuals in these industries. The program launched internally in November of last year. 

The College for Financial Planning (which was purchased by Kaplan in 2018) launched the designation in 2021, joining the college’s 20 other designations. The designation initially launched as a result of talks between Merrill Lynch and Kaplan.

For Wells Fargo advisors to be included in the program, they must achieve the Kaplan designation by completing modules totaling approximately 145 hours, according to Cosby. The modules will, among other topics, focus on challenges particularly pertinent to clients in the sports and entertainment industries, including sudden wealth, uneven income flows and philanthropy.

To generate interest, the firm will run a series of events to build word of mouth (and inviting current clients to bring prospective ones), but Cosby said advisors already saw younger clients asking probing questions, claiming they’d seen or heard of prominent industry figures losing their wealth and filing for bankruptcy later in life, and did not want to suffer the same fate.

“You can have a man or woman who signs a contract at 22 years old, or sometimes even younger, going straight from high school to the professional leagues, and you have a person sitting there with a seven-figure check that never had a checkbook,” he said. “The education has to start early."

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