Wells Names Barry Sommers to Head Wealth Division
Barry Sommers, who ascended to the top ranks of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.’s brokerage and retail banking businesses over a 22-year career that began as a Bear Stearns broker, has been tapped by Wells Fargo & Co. to be chief executive of its wealth and investment management division.
Sommers will replace Jonathan Weiss, who was shifted to head the scandal-plagued San Francisco-based bank’ corporate and investment banking division in February. Weiss has simultaneously been serving as interim head of the wealth unit, which includes the Wells Fargo Advisors retail brokerage business, the Private Bank, the family-office Abbot Downing unit, and Wells Fargo Asset Management. The division, the smallest of Wells businesses, generated $3.7 billion of revenue in this year’s first quarter.
Sommers ended his career amid a reorganization at JPMorgan Chase in 2019 at age 49, following two years as chief executive of its private bank and brokerage businesses and almost four years overseeing its vast consumer banking business. He also served as CEO of J.P. Morgan Securities and of Bear Stearns’ private client business, and was earlier responsible for Bear’s mutual fund business.
Sommers was a longtime colleague of Scharf, whose own career as a top lieutenant to JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon included stints as CFO of Salomon Smith Barney, CEO of Bank One’s retail division and head of Chase’s retail financial services before he left to head credit card company Visa.
At Wells, Sommers will be charged with invigorating a brokerage work force that has fallen by more than 1,000 since disclosure of fake-account scandals at its retail bank almost four years ago, and solidifying new management structures created by Weiss in the wake of the scandal.
In the past two weeks, Wells Fargo Advisors has recruited at least six teams who were managing some $1.6 billion of customer assets at UBS and other rivals. As part of the lure, Wells has elevated its recruiting deals while many rivals have cut recruiting budgets.