Wells Fargo Advisors looks to cut red tape for advisers in reorganization

Firm cuts its regions by one-third with hopes of reducing bureaucracy

May 1, 2019 @ 2:17 pm

By Bruce Kelly

Wells Fargo Advisors continues its restructuring, reducing the number of regions its financial advisers work under from 21 to 14. The firm's roughly 12,000 advisers who work in the firm's employee channel work within those regions.

The move was made to cut down on red tape, said one executive in a memo yesterday to advisers.

"In some cases, unintentional silos are slowing down decisions and leading to inconsistencies," according to the memo, which was signed by John Alexander, head of adviser-led business, West. "We want to reduce bureaucracy across the 21 regions by introducing an integrated and streamlined regional structure. This will allow us to operate simpler, faster and better, which will benefit you and clients."

Rich Getzoff, head of advisor-led business, East, will be in charge of the new 14 regional presidents.

"I believe this integrated model will help eliminate layers in the decision-making process, enable decisions to be made faster, and provide us with one way of doing things across our branch network," Mr. Alexander wrote.

Last August, Wells Fargo & Co., the parent to the brokerage, unveiled its plans for a $4 billion cost-cutting effort that folded its bank brokerage channel, called Wealth Brokerage Services, into the larger wirehouse channel called Private Client Group.

"Hopefully, management can get back to focusing on the clients, the advisers and support staff to improve morale and delivery of services," one Wells Fargo adviser, who asked not to be named, said. The firm has been consolidating layers of management for the past year and a half, and that has made work difficult for managers, the adviser added.

A Wells Fargo spokeswoman, Shea Leordeanu, did not comment when asked about the potential for layoffs of managers as part of the reorganization.

"Yesterday's announcements offer more clarity on how Wells Fargo Advisors will further combine brokerage teams," she wrote in an email. "The goal is to streamline processes to enable faster decision-making, while keeping focus firmly on our clients' needs. We remain fully committed to our unique multichannel model."

"The Private Wealth Financial Advisor group will include three regions to serve the complex needs of high-net-worth clients," she added. That group has roughly 800 advisers under its roof.

Rounding out Wells Fargo Advisors is about 1,000 independent contractors who work through the Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network group, known as FiNet.

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