Armed with an East Coast operation after its acquisition of Wachovia Corp., Wells Fargo & Co.’s wealth management division says it plans to use an integrated distribution model nationally to increase assets under management and market share.
Wells Fargo’s wealth management group announced Monday that it had promoted Erik Davidson and Robert Storey to managing directors of investments for the Western and Eastern U.S. regions, respectively. Davidson and Storey, who were named to newly created posts in the company, are now senior investment leaders for the investment management business, managing about 250 investment specialists who work with wealthy clients.
Davidson, who is based in Carmel, Calif., and Storey, who is based in Charlotte, report to Dean Junkans, the chief investment officer for the wealth management group. All three are Wells Fargo veterans.
Davidson, who runs the San Francisco banking company’s wealth management business from Texas to the West Coast, said in an interview Monday that Wells wants to increase its $150 billion of assets under management but is realistic, given the difficult market conditions.
“Growth is certainly challenging, and double-digit growth would be really aspirational,” he said. “We want to grow market share without question. There is no secret that clients have many investment relationships. We want to show them how much value we offer and gather a larger portion — if not all — of their investment management business.”
A Wells employee since 2004, Davidson said the company is focused on increasing distribution by cross-selling products to its banking customers.
“Everyone talks about full balance sheet and one-stop shopping, but we know that that is very, very difficult to execute on,” he said. “Everyone talks about silos and [that] the ideal situation is to have no silos at all, but that is difficult to achieve. We expect there will be some hedges and, if we can keep them trimmed with good leadership, we will be able to gather additional wallet share.”
Davidson, who was a senior director of investments in Northern California for the wealth management group before his promotion Monday, said Wells has succeeded at distributing more products to banking customers by finding ways to offer them lower prices and better services through multiple distribution channels.
“Once a customer is brought through a business line, they don’t remain solely in that business line,” he said. “For better pricing and to improve a relationship, we have to be flexible. Once we get that customer, we are willing to cross-pollinate if it gives us an opportunity to work more closely with them and retain them as a customer.”
Analysts said that, given the sluggish economic environment, it would be difficult for Wells to add assets and cross-sell products to banking clients while enduring the integration of a major acquisition.
The integration of Wachovia’s wealth management business is moving smoothly, Davidson said. Both companies offered proprietary investment management products, he said, and “excellent open architecture models that make it unnecessary for customers … to go for services elsewhere.”
Because of the economy, he said, many wealthy customers are considering switching wealth management providers, and this offers Wells an opportunity to increase distribution.
“We want to make sure we are offering our bank client the full benefits of our wealth management and investment management business because that would be a huge win for us,” Davidson said.