Shortly after Wells Fargo announced it was exiting its international business in January, Doug Flaherty, who headed Wells Fargo's international private client services group and managed some 36 people on the international wealth management team, jumped into action. He began introducing his team members to different firms in the independent space, setting up introductory meetings over Zoom with firms such as Bolton Capital, Dynasty Financial Partners, Union Capital and Snowden Lane Partners, among others.
“I’ve known these guys, most of them, for over 10 years, so I felt obligated to help them understand what was out there as opposed to 25 people searching on their own,” said Flaherty. “I figure that if I found everybody a home, then eventually I’d land a home too.”
And now he has. This week Snowden Lane announced Flaherty joined the firm's home office in New York City. He'll be principally responsible for recruiting international advisors to the firm.
Snowden Lane Partners, a hybrid firm with $3 billion in advisory assets under management, has been slowly chipping away Wells Fargo’s international businesses in Manhattan and Miami.
Six advisor teams have jumped from Wells to Snowden, adding several million dollars to both hubs, said Greg Franks, president and chief operating officer of Snowden Lane.
Initially Wells executives explored the possibility of finding a single firm interested in lifting out the entire international business as a single entity. Insigneo Financial Group, a Miami-based independent broker/dealer, made Wells Fargo Advisors an offer to transition the international accounts of advisors joining Insigneo in one shot. Wells declined Insigneo’s proposal and others like it.
Flaherty said he didn’t see the entire business being lifted out, so the team has splintered. Some went to Morgan Stanley and other competing banks, while others moved to independent firms. Prior to Flaherty’s hire, Snowden announced the recruitment of former Wells advisors Alfredo Garcia and Armando Ureña to its New York and Miami offices, respectively.
Flaherty said the independence space is like a “breath of fresh air;” the bureaucracy seems diminished, there’s nonproprietary product and multicustodial offerings and access to clients in countries that were off-limits at Wells, he said.
“For their entire lives they’ve been employees; they’ve been working for somebody else. And here they are owners,” said Franks. “All the advisors all own a piece of this company.”