Wells to Move Oregon Manager to Nashville to Fill Vacancy
The turmoil at Wells Fargo & Co. that has prompted scores of brokers in its private client brokerage group to leave is having repercussions for mid-level managers.
To fill a vacancy caused by the late August resignation of Nashville complex manager Tony Thorpe, the company is transferring Peter Danilaitis from Portland, Oregon, to oversee the seven branches he was supervising in Kentucky and Tennessee, company officials said.
“My goal is for the folks there to know that their voices will be heard,” said Danilaitis, 42, who said his new assignment that begins on November 1 is due to his family’s geographic preferences and to his facility in picking up the pieces at leaderless branches.
Since joining Wells in January 2015 from Ameriprise Financial Services, Daniliatis has managed a branch in Bloomington, Minnesota, ascended to complex manager of Twin Cities branches and, since January 2017, managed the Portland complex that includes branches in Oregon and southern Washington State.
The Nashville complex of seven branches and about 70 brokers is smaller than the Portland complex of nine branches and some 100 brokers, a Wells Fargo spokeswoman said. The firm has not yet named a successor to Daniaitis, she said.
Thorpe, who was shifted to Tennessee in 2014 from Michigan, where he ran the East Lansing complex, has returned to production and is working out of the firm’s Brentwood, Tenn., complex, according to sources. The Brentwood branch has shrunk as more than a dozen brokers joined other firms in the past 18 months, while the population of other branches in the complex have been relatively stable, they said.
Thorpe could not be reached for comment.
The exodus of Wells Fargo advisors is, to be sure, a national one. More than 800 brokers have left Wells Fargo Advisors in the past two years, reflecting what many say are customer concerns over headlines about regulatory settlements and sales indiscretions, as well as the maturation of signing-bonus agreements penned when Wells bought A.G. Edwards & Sons.
The exodus and continuing internal and external investigations of sales practices at the bank and its wealth management businesses has led to structural changes, including the integration of its bank-based brokers into its private client business that operates out of autonomous brokerage branches.
Wells also has experienced flurries of movement in branch management seats. In June, a complex manager in Long Island, NY, left to join an independent firm, only to return two weeks later with what he characterized as a renewed focus on managing through change.
Oppenheimer & Co., the New York-based brokerage firm that in recent years has winnowed its brokerage force to around 1,100 advisors, also has been making branch management adjustments.
The firm last week hired Christopher L. Lappas to oversee its Stamford, Connecticut, branch and five satellite offices with around 40 brokers who he said generate around $22 million in annual revenue.
Lappas arrived from Stifel Nicolaus and its predecessor firm Sterne Agee, where he oversaw 12 brokers who was in charge of 12 brokers in northern New Jersey. He began his career in retail banking, became a broker in 1999 with Prudential Securities, and also did stints at Herbert J. Sims, Wachovia Securities, Snowden Account Services, and Merrill Lynch prior to joining Sterne Agee in 2013, according to BrokerCheck.
“This is a bigger opportunity, and that was appealing,” said Lappas, who also said the move cuts down on his commute time since he lives in Stamford.
Lappas replaces Michael S. Stern, a 25-year industry veteran who left Oppenheimer after 13 years on October 5, according to BrokerCheck. An Oppenheimer spokeswoman said she could not immediately comment on Stern, who is not currently registered with a Finra firm, according to BrokerCheck.
Stern could not be reached for comment.