Wirehouse Wars: Wells Loads Up on October Hires from UBS, Morgan Stanley, Merrill
Wells Fargo Advisors attracted million-dollar-plus brokers in California and Vermont from rivals in recent days.
Corey Aschenbach, a solo practitioner in Los Angeles with Morgan Stanley and Smith Barney for 18 years, left earlier this month for a Wells office in Irvine. He produced about $1.4 million over the past year on client assets of $190 million, according to a Wells spokeswoman.
Wells has for several years been offering high-end deals and bounties to recruiters to attract upper-quintile advisors, trying to replenish its scandal-depleted sales force even as the bank’s new management team cuts costs (and low-producing salaried advisors).
In northern California on October 9, the same day Aschenbach joined, Wells hired the Merrill Lynch team of Tommie L. Murphy, Jr. and Melanie Foster in Walnut Creek. They were generating $1.2 million in combined annual revenue on $260 million in client assets, according to the Wells spokeswoman.
For Murphy the shift was a return. He started his career with Dean Witter Reynolds in 1983 but had worked at Wells and predecessor firms Prudential Securities/Thomson McKinnon for 28 years before joining Merrill in 2011, according to his BrokerCheck. Foster started her career 22 years ago at Prudential, and had been with Merrill since 2015, according to her BrokerCheck history.
Neither Murphy nor Foster returned calls for comment.
Wells last week tapped UBS Wealth Management USA’s Burlington, VT, office to hire Chris I. O’Brien for its branch in the New England city. He produced around $1.1 million for UBS in the last 12 months on $145 million in client assets, according to Wells. O’Brien, who began his almost 17-year career at Morgan Stanley, had worked at UBS since 2008, according to BrokerCheck. He declined to comment on the motivation for his move.
Wells Fargo ended its third quarter with 12,908 wealth management reps across its private client, bank-branch and independent broker channels, a decline of 390 in the past year despite its recruiting push. (Wells has recorded a net loss of 2,178 brokers over the past three years.)
The new hires are on average more successful than those retiring, leaving for other firms, or laid off, according to the bank. Those joining in the last year had average annual production of $704,000, 30% higher than brokers who left, the spokeswoman said after the bank reported third-quarter results last week.
Other Wells hires this month include:
- Kevin Federico, a UBS broker in Southampton, NY, with 19 years of wirehouse experience, who produces $565,000 in annual revenue on $55 million of client assets, according to Wells;
- Matthew B. Underwood, a 12-year career Edward Jones broker near Asheville, NC, who generated $830,000 in annual revenue on $150 million in assets in the past year; and
- Qingyin (Robin) You, a 14-year broker who joined a bank-based branch in Walnut Creek from HSBC Securities, where he produced $820,000 in annual revenue on $95 million in client assets, the spokeswoman said.