Image: Bloomberg News
Image: Bloomberg News

Profits for Wells Fargo's wealth management unit rose 10% year-over-year even as total client assets fell, the firm reported.

The San Francisco-based bank said that profits for its Wealth and Investment Management unit, which includes the firm's independent and employee advisors, rose to $606 million for the third quarter from $550 million for the same period a year ago.

Net interest income rose 18% year-over-year to $887 million while non-interest income fell 2% to $3 billion. Non-interest expenses, meanwhile, fell 1% to $2.9 billion, which the firm attributed to lower compensation expenses.

Client assets for the firm's retail brokerage unit slipped 4% to $1.4 trillion. Advisor headcount at the wirehouse also fell, dropping 1% to 14,988 financial advisors.

Managed accounts assets were flat from the previous year at $409 billion.

The fall in client assets mirrors a similar slip at Merrill Lynch, which reported on the same day that the firm's AUM slid 3% for the third quarter, falling to $1.9 trillion from $2.004 trillion for the year-ago period.

But unlike Wells Fargo, Merrill is expanding its advisor force. Headcount at the firm increased by 193 to reach 14,563 advisors.

OVERALL GROWTH

Wells Fargo said company-wide profits rose 1%, rising to $5.796 billion for the quarter from $5.729 billion for the year ago period. Earnings per diluted share increased to $1.05 from $1.02.

"Wells Fargo's strong third quarter results reflected the ability of our diversified business model to generate consistent financial performance in an uneven economic environment while continuing to meet our customers' financial needs," CEO John Stumpf said in a statement.

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