Wells Fargo Advisors Taps 25-Year Brokerage and RIA Vet to Lead Indie Channels
In a sign of Wells Fargo & Co.’s growing ambitions for its independent advisor business, it has hired a 25-year industry veteran with varied experience serving registered investment advisors and independent brokers to a newly created role overseeing its three ‘indie’ channels at its Wells Fargo Advisors unit.
Tyers’ remit will include Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network, the bank’s independent broker-dealer channel, and its broker-dealer clearing business, First Clearing, as well as its RIA custody business, which is also housed under First Clearing. The respective leadership of the individual businesses, including Kent Christian, who oversees the roughly 1,350 independent contractors at FiNet and John Peluso at First Clearing, which serves 53 third-party broker-dealers, according to its website, will remain in their roles, a Wells spokeswoman said.
“I am thrilled to bring John on board, as I believe we have enormous growth potential in our independent advisor channels,” Hays said in a prepared statement. “With John’s past experience leading so many facets of the independent experience throughout his career, we are set to make these already strong independent businesses even more powerful.”
Tyers could not be reached for comment Thursday, and the Wells spokeswoman declined to provide any growth or headcount targets for the independent business lines.
Tyers, who had been with AdvisorEngine since 2019, began his financial services career at Charles Schwab in 1994, according to his LinkedIn profile. He remained there for six years and then worked at Bear Stearns, from 2002 to 2008, responsible at both firms for selling custody services and platforms to RIAs, independent broker dealers, family offices and trust companies, according to his profile.
At Merrill Lynch, where he worked from 2008 to 2015, Tyers did stints as president of Merrill’s custody and clearing business for RIAs and independent broker-dealers, a group leader for managed solutions and wealth management technology tools, and as Southeast regional managing director for Merrill’s Private Banking & Investment Group focused on ultra-high net worth clients, according to his profile.
Prior to joining AdvisorEngine, he led Citizens Financial Group’s private wealth segment from 2016 to 2019, according to his profile.
Wells Fargo Chief Executive Charlie Scharf had told analysts on the bank’s second quarter earnings call this month that the bank had, among other shortcomings, “completely underutilized” its FiNet channel, but hinted that they’d start to “see things come to market.”
Scharf gave a nod to Barry Sommers, head of Wells’ Wealth and Investment Management division, who was focusing on helping it do a “better job” with coordinating across business lines and cross-selling, including offering wealthy customers securities backed loans and mortgages “where our stats clearly lag the competition.”
Wells’ RIA channel, which launched in January 2019 as a way to head off some attrition by breakaway brokers, grew to 11 firms by the end of that year, but announcements of additions into the channel have slowed over the past year and a half.
The Wells spokeswoman declined to confirm the latest advisor or team to join the channel. She also declined to provide specific figures on assets under management, advisor headcount or revenue for the individual Independent Advisor channels, which are reported as part of the overall results for the bank’s Wealth & Investment Management unit.
Wells reported a total of 12,819 advisors in its Wealth and Investment Management unit as of the end of June, representing a 9.8% year-over-year decline from 14,206 and a 3.4% dip from 13,277 the first quarter. The bulk of the advisors are in the firm’s private client group, which includes over 7,000 traditional brokers and more than 3,000 bank-based advisors.