Wells Advisors Gives Nod to Heads of Independent Channel and Technology
Following his appointment as head of Wells Fargo Advisors four months ago, David Kowach has rearranged the broker-dealer’s operating committee as he puts his stamp more firmly on the wirehouse amid its parent bank’s cross-marketing crisis.
Kent Christian, president of the brokerage’s Financial Network (FiNet) platform for independent contractors, and Cindy Buckler, chief information officer of brokerage technology, have joined Wells Advisor’s 16-person management panel, according to a revised webpage posted this week.
The moves follow last week’s appointment of Mark Hubbert, Wells Advisors’ chief risk and credit officer, to the operating committee and the removal from it of former tech head Mark Hammersmith. Buckler, who joined Wells Advisors’ predecessor firm Wachovia Securities 20 years ago, has assumed Hammersmith’s CIO role. She had previously reported to him as chief technology officer.
The appointment of Christian, who joined Wells’s predecessor firm Wachovia Securities in 2005 after serving as national sales director of Raymond James Financial’s independent broker platform, cements the importance of the independent channel to Kowach, said some Wells veterans who spoke on condition of anonymity. The unit services about 1,300 brokers, a small part of the 15,000 throughout Wells Advisors, but independent brokers and registered investment advisers are the fastest growing channels in the wealth management industry.
FiNet, along with Wells’s First Clearing correspondent clearing business and its call-center business, had been overseen until recently by management committee member Brand Meyer. He is now responsible for “overseeing all business decisions related to the Department of Labor’s fiduciary standard rule,” according to the revised operating committee webpage, but does not have direct oversight of a line business.
In the interregnum between Mary Mack’s departure in July to run Wells Fargo’s scandal-plagued retail bank branch system and Kowach’s appointment as president in August, Meyer served as interim head of Wells Advisors and its force of 15,000 brokers. The firm is the third largest in the U.S. as measured by broker count.
Wells spokespersons declined to discuss who Christian and First Clearing president John Peluso, who is not on the operating committee, now report to.
Peluso had run FiNet before Christian took its operational reins in 2012 after managing Wells Advisors’ financial services products platform from 2008 to 2012.