In her first major action as head of the unit, Mary Mack, who was promoted to president of Wells Fargo Advisors just over a month ago, announced late last week a plan to split the Financial Services Group into three separately managed units.
In a letter to staff released publicly by the firm, she wrote that after spending the past few months listening and looking closely at how Wells Fargo Advisors can enhance our structure to help us build a solid framework to improve the client experience, raise our risk consciousness and continue our focus on growth, she had decided to create three units, each with separate leadership teams reporting to her.
Under the reorganization plan, the Strategic Solutions Group will become a unit called Innovation and Business Strategy, which will continue to be headed by Joe Nadreau. That unit will also include the Client Experience, Advisor Best Practices, WFA Strategy and the Corporate Properties groups.
A new Mobile and Online Group is being created, which will be responsible for the strategy, development and running of our client platform. It will include the current Client Platform team and the WellsTrade team. Finally, a Products and Advice Group will bring together the current Investment Advisory Products group as well as Lending and Banking Services, Advising, FA Recruiting and FA Manager/Productivity and Retention groups.
Searches are underway for candidates to head those latter two new units, according to Wells Fargo Advisors spokesman Anthony Mattera, who said that the search would include insiders as well as people outside the company.
Macks letter made no reference to cost savings or to possible staff cuts. In fact, it may be that this restructuring signals increased hiring -- especially of advisors.
I think this reorganization is about improving recruiting, says Rick Rummage who is president of The Rummage Group and formerly worked at First Union and Wachovia, both later part of Wells Fargo Advisors. Based upon conversations he has had with Wells Fargo insiders, Rummage claims that Wells Fargo Advisors, which currently has about 15,200 advisors on its roster, set an ambitious 2013 recruitment target. They did well in what was a tough year for recruiting, he says, but they did not meet their goal.
He adds, I think they want to do even better at their recruiting this year, and they think this organizational change will help them do it.
Raschelle Burton, a Wells Fargo Advisors spokeswoman, confirms that the firm didnt meet its aspirational goal in advisor recruiting last year, but claims the company is still number one in the percent of Advisors hired that were in motion.
I dont think its accurate to say these changes were about improving recruiting. It was bigger than that--though if it does improve recruiting that would be great, Burton says. The goal was to elevate the focus of these activities by bringing the leaders up to the executive committee level. But the move will affect everything across the firm in a positive way.