Wells Fargo Advisors Hires $800-Mln Asset Team from Stifel
Wells Fargo Advisors has plucked a group of three St. Louis brokers with $800 million in assets from cross-town brokerage rival Stifel Nicolaus.
He said his contribution to his team’s revenue ranked him among Stifel’s top 10% of advisors.
Wells Fargo has been offering enhanced signing bonuses and recruiting fees to brokers and headhunters to replace more than 1,000 brokers who left in the wake of its bank fake-account scandal, but Palan said it was another incentive that most influenced his decision after 18 months of job search due diligence.
Wells Fargo Advisors, which like Stifel is based in St. Louis, agreed to open a “branch” for the Palan team at its headquarters, the first advisors to get such an honor. His physical location near product specialists, commercial bankers and senior managers makes a difference even in the age of digital contact, he asserted.
“I’m not going to call these guys up on the telephone and say there’s an issue. I’m going to walk upstairs and bring them down in front of my clients,” he said.
A Wells Fargo Advisors spokeswoman said that his team is the first in many years to get a headquarters berth.
Other firms that Palan evaluated included Florida-based Raymond James & Associates and Minneapolis-based RBC Wealth Management-U.S. But he said that Wells’ position as the fourth biggest U.S. bank company will be useful to, and may impress, his large contingent of small business-owner clients, despite the Wells scandal.
Palan’s new office will be overseen by Jason Turkin, a producing branch manager in nearby O’Fallon, Illinois. They have known each other since crossing paths at Morgan Stanley, which Palan left in 2004 and Turkin in 2010.
Wells’s signing deal was strong, though close to other offers the team received, and Palan said his principal concern throughout the process has been his ability to convince customers to join him.
“It’s no secret that Wells Fargo has made a nice commitment to advisors who have decided to join forces,” he said, “but an advisor cannot be paid enough to blow up his book.”
Some customers have already moved a “significant” amount of assets, he said, but they and others also wanted reassurance in light of the long-enduring Wells scandal that has felled two chief executives and led to national regulatory and congressional scrutiny. Senior Stifel executives, he added, also have been calling his clients.
“This is a business about trust, and your clients trust you to act in their best interest,” Palan said, noting that he has been well schooled in noting that the illegal sales practice issues staining Wells’ reputation occurred outside the brokerage business and that a well-respected new chief executive Charles Scharf is taking over.
“We have done our homework and think we have unique access to products and services and wonderful people in management,” he said.
A Stifel spokesman declined to comment on the team’s departure and Palan’s remarks. The Missouri-based firm earlier this month recruited a $5.5-million team of producers near its headquarters from Merrill Lynch.
Palan did two stints at Stifel, where he began his brokerage career in late 1984 and stayed through June 1999. He then spent almost five years at Morgan Stanley before returning to Stifel in January 2004.
Glaser moved to Stifel in mid-1998 after nine years at Edward Jones, according to her BrokerCheck history. Soshnik began his career as a registered rep with Stifel in March 2005.
No members of Palan’s team have disclosure marks on their BrokerCheck records.