$3.6 Million J.P. Morgan Duo in California Join Wells Fargo
The heated competition for high-end advisors serving wealthy families at private banks and elite units of brokerage firms continued this week as a J.P. Morgan Advisors team in Los Angeles shifted to Wells Fargo Advisors’ “private wealth” group.
They are based at Wells Fargo Advisors downtown Avenue of the Stars branch, and were recruited complex manager Paul Vannuki to be part of the bank’s investment-oriented private wealth focused on clients with $5 million or more in assets, according to a person familiar with the move.
Romans and Fisher had considered offers from two aggressive “boutique” wealth firms, First Republic Bank and Rockefeller Capital Management, but opted for the security that a major bank name could give them and clients, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Romans and Fisher, who joined J.P. Morgan eight years ago and began their careers in 2004 and 2006, respectively, at Bernstein, could not immediately be reached for comment.
A spokeswoman at J.P. Morgan Advisors, the New York banking giant’s recently rebranded retail brokerage business, declined to comment.
Wirehouses have been competing to land advisors with ultra-wealthy clients, despite the broad range of loan and trust products such clients often have that make them difficult to pry from the advisors’ former employers.
UBS Wealth Management in October hired Robert Stoker, a Bernstein advisor in San Francisco said to have been producing more than $7.5 million.
Wells, for its part, hired Los Angeles-based advisors Don Wyse and David Trent in June from UBS to the private wealth group, and last Friday lured two teams of advisors from a Merrill branch in northern California who were collectively managing $1 billion of client assets.
The private wealth advisors unit they affiliated with was created in 2019. It now has around 370 advisors, over and above those who work its Abbot Downing family office and traditional private banking businesses.
Wells’s recruiting packages for top-producing advisors can reach as high as 340% of trailing-12-month revenue if they remain for nine years and hit asset transfer and growth targets, according to outside recruiters.
J.P. Morgan Advisors, whose nucleus is the brokerage business the New York bank absorbed with its purchase of Bear Stearns Cos. during the financial crisis, has around 450 brokers. It plans to add at least 50 new advisors per year, its chief executive Chris Harvey told advisors in October.
Wells Fargo Advisors has been recruiting across its private client group, in-bank brokerage and independent channels in an effort to replace more than 1,500 advisors net who have left since the fake-account scandal was disclosed four years ago. New brokers hired in recent weeks from rival wirehouses include:
- Orlando Maldonado and Stephen Cohen, who left Merrill Lynch in Yardley, PA, on Nov. 30 to affiliate as independent advisors with Wells Fargo Financial Network (FiNet). They jointly managed $135 million in assets and generated $1.4 million in annual revenue, according to Wells;
- John W. Hoffman, who left a UBS Wealth office in Roanoke, VA, on Nov. 30 to join a Wells branch in the city. He had been managing $150 million of client assets and was generating almost $1 million in annual revenue, Wells said;
- Michael Piccolo and Samantha Awad, who joined the employee broker channel on December 3 from a Morgan Stanley branch in Paramus, NJ. They had produced $1.5 million in annual revenue in the previous year on about $225 million of client assets, according to the Wells spokeswoman.