Another Credit Suisse Transplant Leaves Wells Branch Near Philadelphia
William Lane III, who spent his 16-year career with a high-net-worth Philadelphia-area brokerage team that migrated from Deutsche Bank to Credit Suisse to Wells Fargo Advisors, left them this week to form an independent advisory firm.
Lane is hoping to attract his book of about 20 families with more than $1.5 billion of assets to Almanack Investment Partners, a three-year-old RIA in Wayne, Pa., that offers operating, financing and other support services to independent advisors, according to Jim Judge, an Almanack partner and co-owner.
Almanack supports eight other advisers at six firms in Pennsylvania and Louisiana with about $750 million of assets under management in exchange for a percentage of their advisory fees, but Lane is joining with what is expected to be the largest book, Judge said. He will operate under the Almanack Family Office name.
Lane is at least the third former Credit Suisse broker in Wells’ private client group office in Radnor, Pa., to have left Wells Advisors’ private client group branch in Radnor, Pa., in the last nine months. Jack Hafner, who was managing some $1.4 billion of customer assets, joined J.P. Morgan Securities in April, and Saundra Genoni Gibson left in September to join Black Stone Partners, a hybrid RIA-independent broker/dealer in Exton founded three years ago by former Wells Advisors Brian Stephenson and David Matulewicz (who had not been with Credit Suisse).
Almost one-third of the 27 brokers listed on the Radnor branch’s website joined from Credit Suisse, taking the offer that the Swiss bank was promoting to its more than 300 brokers (in return for a Wells placement fee) on the eve of closing its U.S. operations.
Lane did not return a call for comment on his reasons for leaving or for choosing Almanack.
He “never contemplated” affiliating with the new independent registered investment advisor channel that Wells opened in January to try to retain some disaffected brokers, according to Almanack’s Judge, and was searching for a firm that could offer him more customized product and customer support solutions,
Advisors who work with Almanack, which also manages a hedge fund, get platform support from Charles Schwab, TD Ameritrade and Fidelity, with most of their clients’ custodying at Schwab, according to regulatory filings.
Almanack’s founders knew Lane through some “shared client relationships” in their previous roles at institutional asset management firm Forefront Analytics, according to Judge, and rekindled contact with him last summer when he began actively looking to leave Wells.
Wells Fargo Advisors’ brokerage force has declined by more than 900 to just under 14,000 across its private client, bank and independent brokerage units in the two years since its parent bank disclosed regulatory settlements and investigations into the creation of fake bank and credit card accounts in the fall of 2016.
A Wells Advisors spokeswoman confirmed Lane’s departure, but declined further comment.
Lane’s longtime partners at his three previous firms—Anthony Celentano, Charles Kurtzman and Bryan Rogers—declined to comment on his split or on the portion of their practice that he was responsible for, Rogers said.
Separately, a longtime Wells Fargo advisor in Decatur, Illinois, Ronald E. Miller, left the company last month to set up Miller Wealth Management, a hybrid RIA that conducts brokerage through independent firm Private Client Services. Miller had a long history with Wells. He first registered as a broker in 1986 with A.G. Edwards, moved to Wells’ private client group when it absorbed Edwards in 2008 and shifted to Well’s Financial Network (FiNet) independent brokerage channel in 2015, according to his BrokerCheck history.
Miller, who was joined in his new business by his junior Wells colleague Jesse Rupp, did not respond to requests for comment about his move. His advisory business directs its clients to custody with Schwab, according to a regulatory filing.