Wells Signs Two $2-Mln-Plus Brokers from Merrill, UBS
While Wells Fargo & Co. wrestles with major costs cuts and reorganizations, its brokerage unit continues to lure seasoned advisors from competitors.
Littlejohn, who worked with about $460 million in client assets, joined with client associate Alley Steele, while Cathcart arrived with client associate Lilly Schweich and oversaw about $210 million, a Wells spokeswoman confirmed.
Littlejohn, a 31-year industry veteran who was in Merrill’s private wealth management unit for ultra-wealthy clients, left three other advisors who remain with the Thundering Herd. His clients included the University of Houston Foundation, according to a 2017 media report on the 16% return he generated that year for the $129 million-asset foundation.
Cathcart, who joined a private client office in Chesterfield, Missouri, near Wells Fargo Advisors’ St. Louis headquarters, had been with UBS since 2007 and before that worked at A.G. Edwards and, for a year, at Edward D. Jones & Co. He did not return a request for comment on his decision to leave UBS.
Wells Fargo has been offering aggressive recruiting bonuses to top brokers as it tries to fill holes left by scores of advisors who joined other firms or retired early in the wake of its parent bank’s sales scandals that erupted four years ago. Its broker account across its employee and independent channels fell by a net 815 in the past year.
Recruiting deals can reach as high as 325% of a broker’s trailing-12 month production, according to recruiters and executives at competing firms.
The forgivable loan checks are being written despite Wells CEO Charlie Scharf’s effort to cut some $10 billion in annual expenses and sell business units. The company last week said it would end 401(k)matching contributions for employees earning $250,000 and above but shelved the plan after a backlash from advisors and highly compensated bankers.
Wells ended its third quarter with 12,908 wealth management reps across its private client, bank-branch and independent broker channels, a net loss of 2,178 brokers over the past three years.