Independent RIA Washington Wealth Management LLC has landed three advisers from the Woodland Hills, Calif., office of Wells Fargo Advisors LLC.
Ricardo Montejano and David Yee, partners for the last 12 years, and Jeff Mramor, who joined them six years ago, moved into Washington's recently opened office in Woodland Hills — the firm's first location in the Los Angeles market. The team managed $120 million in assets and had production of about $1.35 million at Wells Fargo, according to Mr. Yee, and will operate under the name of Pacific Point Asset Management.
The move was a long time coming, said Mr. Yee, who started his career with Dean Witter in 1994. “Jeff is the youngest and calmest member of our team, and he came in one day and said he was done with [Wells Fargo],” he said. “Our compensation was tied to how many mortgages we sold to our clients and we didn't want that.” The three advisers joined their new firm on Friday.
Wells Fargo Spokeswoman Rachelle Rowe confirmed the departure of the three advisers and defended the company's business model. “We have a lot of financial advisers doing very well with a business model that involves a lot of collaboration across business lines,” said Ms. Rowe. “A lot of them think it enhances their business and allows them to offer clients what they need and want.”
Mr. Yee said the team spoke with two other wirehouses and considered other options, including LPL Financial LLC, Schwab Advisor Services and Commonwealth Financial Network, before settling on Washington Wealth Management. He said he's getting a positive reaction from clients so far. “We have a lot of small-business clients and a lot of them have been congratulating us and asking us why it took so long to go out on our own,” Mr. Yee said.
“I had a $3 million client thank me for leaving.”
One of a growing number of RIA firms looking to recruit wirehouse advisers and establish regional and national presences, Washington Wealth Management was launched 18 months ago with two offices in Virginia. The firm since has added three offices on the West Coast, one in Westport, Conn., and one in Las Vegas. It managed about $500 million before the addition of the Wells Fargo team.
Chief executive Tony Sirianni said the firm intends to open four or five more offices this year.
Washington Wealth Management offers advisers office space, equipment and technology, a choice of custodians and a broader investment platform than they can get at a wirehouse, Mr. Sirianni said. It also offers a 70% payout.
“We're fast becoming the place for the million-dollar producer,” Mr. Sirianni said.