Zach Ritchie was fed up with all the promises he failed to keep to Wells Fargo’s ultra-high net worth clients.
“I often said: ‘It will come.’ I would say that a lot,” Richie said in an interview.
“‘There is promise that this will happen, and it will deliver this technology solution for financial planning,’” he said. “Or, ‘This bank thing you’ve got could be a lot better’.”
On March 10, Richie and two other private bankers from Wells Fargo Private Bank announced that the team Registered Investment Advisor for Startups Private Wealth Asset Management, Cedar Rapids, Iowabase They have become commission-only trustees and partners, and are the company leading the Omaha office. The group shared the news in an email press release.
How Private Wealth Stories Launched just a year and a half ago have won their biggest team to date in the fall of 2021. set off for independence.
The recently retired Wells team worked in Omaha and advised on $1.9 billion in client assets (AUA). The team intends to selectively transition less than half of its former relationships, or less than 100 of her clients, a group spokeswoman confirmed via email.
The team includes Ritchey, a certified financial planner. Senior Wealth Strategist Ben Geethel is a former attorney specializing in trusts, estate planning and tax. Tyler Schlumpf is a Chartered Financial Analyst, Portfolio Manager and Financial Consultant.that’s all Richie and Schlump According to BrokerCheck records, it was a Wells licensed broker.
According to a press release, Ritchie will continue in his new roles as Managing Director, Geethel will continue as Senior Wealth Strategist, and Schlump will become Senior Portfolio Manager.
Wells Fargo did not respond to a request for comment on the move.
A sinking ship or a “sinking” problem?
The move took place just a few days later Wells lost another famous group From Private Wealth Advisor in Charlotte, NC to LPL Financial, a leading independent broker-dealer. A new group, Carnegie Private Wealth, manages his $1.45 billion client assets in Wells, making it the largest adoption to date for his LPL Strategic Wealth Services, an LPL exit channel.
Wells is trying to shake off years of wear and tear recently scandal Across many line of workinclude Wealth managementRegulators have warned the company: may have more answers.
Banks have tried to Improve recruitment and retention Advisor’s Increase in the number of net advisors — Some industry watchers are skeptical that that game will get any better.
Company’s Recent reduction in field leaderspositions that support advisors and typically assist with recruitment, have not helped recognition of its efforts among some professionals.
Industry Recruitment Agency Diamond Consultants It pointed out recently report Wells Fargo’s slight turnaround in adviser hiring late last year could indicate that “years of negative press may be cooling down.” Among other things, he noted that the company’s “cross-market recruitment deals” are attractive to advisors.
“They have to pay a premium to have advisors at Wells Fargo because they know most advisors are a step back in terms of ease of doing business. A company focused on advisors as clients, said Frank LaRosa, CEO of industry consulting firm Elite Consulting Partners, in an interview.
LaRosa said the higher pay in hiring reflected Wells Fargo’s perceived lack of resources compared to its competitors.
Wells Fargo last month A major upgrade to the mobile appintroduced a financial planning focused tool called LifeSync. This tool is intended to improve the client experience and assist in attracting and retaining advisors. But it was too late for a team like Ritchey.
Wells’ ‘Abandoned’ Little Market
Planning for the Omaha team’s departure from Wells began about six to nine months ago, Ritchie said.
Other telecom companies and big banks dangled large advances to lure the team, he said, to no avail.
“It’s a very competitive environment,” he said. “I mean, their first LinkedIn message was, ‘Hey, I can pay you this much.’ And you’re like, ‘What the hell? This is crazy.'”
The team decided to avoid big broker-dealers. “What we feared was making a move to trade the same problem,” Ritchie said, adding that he and his colleagues wanted to know how the company would “add value to the customer.” He added that there were
Customer experience technology wasn’t the only thing Wells was missing, he said. So was the overall quality of service for ultra-high net worth clients with special needs such as trusts, business transfers and philanthropy. He has seen professionals in these fields pull away to metropolitan areas like New York, San Francisco, and Minneapolis.
“We have definitely come out of COVID and we have seen a lot of changes happening. Actually, it’s not just Wells Fargo. He said, referring to the big banks.
When Ritchey called these larger urban hubs to support the special needs of his ultra-high net worth clients, he had hundreds of advisors, and in turn thousands of clients, to get his attention. fought with
Turnover rates in these professions were also high. “We were always re-educating those people when they needed help,” he said.
As a result, the relationship with the client was lost.
“A lot of the time, we had to protect the client from what was going on, and sometimes we couldn’t get around what was going on,” says Ritchey.
Ritchie said Wells previously had four Omaha-based private wealth advisors serving clients with at least $10 million in investable assets. After that, it was just Richie. With his resignation, Wells now has no one in the area, he said.
As part of many consolidations in recent years, Wells has “removed most of the leadership positions on the private bank side that led to Zack and Tyler reporting through Wells Fargo Advisors, even though they were private bankers. a spokesman for the team said in an email.
“Like our other markets, Omaha has been abandoned by large institutions,” said Founding Partner of Private Wealth, omaha exit Wells himself said in a statement.
On the other hand, most RIAs didn’t seem right either, says Ritchey.
He and two teammates met while working at RIA Carson Wells before moving to Wells Fargo, and wanted a company that offered the RIA experience while offering the resources of a large private bank. bottom.
“Many RIAs work with any type of client, that’s their competitive edge,” he laughs.
In contrast, Ritchey’s Omaha team prefers to “work with small client groups and create an outsourced family office approach” that gives each client more time and service. Ritchie says Private Wealth fits the bill.
“I wanted to get back to truly doing what was best for my clients. I wanted to be able to choose which solution to choose,” he said. Now, “I had the option of going shopping for my customers.”
Former Wells Private Bunker Club
The move also demonstrates the hiring power of former colleagues, who provide a familiar face as advisors consider new options, and equity partnerships as retention incentives.
Look at the About the page At least five of the employees are based in Omaha and recently left Wells Fargo, according to Private Wealth’s LinkedIn profile. Often around the same time Ritchey and his team were working there in his late 2010s. Some employees didn’t seem to have his LinkedIn profile, so the number could be higher.
“Private Wealth has grown its total staff from seven to 49 and opened offices in four states and eight markets: Omaha, Nebraska; Cedar Rapids and Des Moines, Iowa; San Antonio, Midland; Corpus Christi, and Fort Worth, Texas. St. Louis, Missouri,” the company said in a press release, demonstrating its strategy to support independent private wealth advisors in the Midwest.
Asked whether previous acquaintances with Private Wealth staff influenced his team’s move, Ritchie said it was a factor in his decision-making, though not the only reason.
“In this industry we want trust,” he added, adding that his previous experience with Wells colleagues before moving into Private Wealth was reassuring. , a market that is not a hub. ”
“There was certainly some overlap, but there are also other team members that I hadn’t met before that I had to scrutinize myself,” he said.
The bigger draw, he said, is the seemingly more stable fit for clients and the partnership opportunities. This is “extremely unique” in the industry. You can tag what is already established. ”
“We are the client and the company owner,” Richie said. “We have a very excited equity division.”
“It causes you not to want to make another change in the future. So this is our last stop.”