Wells Fargo Readily Admits That It's Not Above Paying For It

Tim Sloan is just pulling up behind brokers in his car, rolling down the window halfway and whispering "How much?"

Sure, those other haughty banks can pretend that they don't pay for talent (looking at you, Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch), but Wells Fargo has just had one of those years and it's done living a lie: Wells Fargo will pay for it, and Wells Fargo will pay big.


The San Francisco bank’s brokerage arm told industry recruiters this week it would raise its recruitment offers after The Wall Street Journal reported Morgan Stanley would significantly cut back on the pricey practice of poaching brokers, people familiar with the matter said.
“Attracting the industry’s top talent will always be a priority for Wells Fargo Advisors,” a spokeswoman for Wells Fargo said, adding that recruiting advisers and gaining their clients has “helped us grow in key markets.”

Hey, think what you will about this, Wells Fargo doesn't even care anymore. There was a time that everyone thought Wells Fargo was this goody-two-shoes moral paradigm...and how did that work out? And now that The Stagecoach is a lonely pariah it feels free to be itself, and that means peeling off a few Benjamin Franklins and asking if you brokers with a fulsome book want to have a little party and maybe sleep over. And it's not like you're going to find a more generous john bank than Wells, baby...

Wells Fargo is betting on a vacuum left after its rivals’ recent decisions to tamp down recruitment efforts, industry recruiters said, as the brokerage unit grapples with an exodus of brokers after its retail- banking scandal.
Wells Fargo’s brokerage arm, known as Wells Fargo Advisors, has been losing brokers at a higher rate since the bank paid a $185 million settlement in September for opening up as many as 2.1 million accounts using fictitious or unauthorized information. At the end of September, Wells Fargo had 15,086 brokers, but its head count fell nearly 3%, or 429 brokers, through the first quarter of this year.

Is Wells desperate? Sure.

Is it needy? The neediest?

Can it pay? Through the nose.

Isn't it embarrassed? Ha, that's cute.

For brokerage firms, recruiting is synonymous with growth. Brokers hired away from rivals usually bring as much as 80% of their clients and assets with them, giving the acquiring firm an immediate revenue boost. “Recruiting is instant magic,” said Bill Willis, a Los Angeles-based brokerage recruiter.

All Wells Fargo wants is to feel a little magic. And it will pay you just to feel.

Wells Fargo Sweetens Broker Recruitment Bonuses [WSJ]