Revealed: The firms that won the battle for Wells’ top talent

December 2021


The Wells Fargo Advisors saga is finally coming to an end.

Since shocking the offshore wealth management industry in January by announcing it was closing its international business, Wells Fargo’s offshore rivals have been battling it out to capture its top advisor talent.

Wells Fargo’s decision to close its international wealth management business at the end of September threw into question the future of its 330 international advisors and meant the $40bn in client assets they collectively ran was now up for grabs. A quick calculation reveals that the average client book was around $120m per Wells Fargo international advisor, so it’s no wonder competition was so intense to hire them.

While the majority of the wirehouse’s international advisors left for new firms ahead of the September closure deadline date, a significant number of them made the move to their new homes in the subsequent weeks.

Also, a large portion of advisors who generated less than 40% of their revenue from international accounts opted to remain with the wirehouse by dropping their international clients in favor of generous compensation packages.

Citywire Americas has been closely tracking the movement of Wells Fargo’s international advisors since its January announcement and this year we have reported on the exit of 102 of them to rival firms.

Of those 102 advisors, we received client book estimates for 66 of them which, when combined, totaled close to $18.4bn. Applying the $120m average advisor-client book size to the remaining 36 advisors, that gives us an estimated total of more than $22.7bn for the 102 advisors.

So, which firms lead the pack in the recruitment race?

The recruitment figures below are based solely on Citywire Americas reporting and do not cover every international advisor exit from Wells Fargo since January. Several hires have gone unreported as some advisors do not wish to publicize their moves.

Topping the podium

The overall winner of the recruitment race is Morgan Stanley, with the hire of 19 Wells Fargo international advisors over the past 12 months.

The wealth management giant was quick to snap up the exiting talent, making 13 of 19 advisor hires by May, according to Citywire Americas data.

Morgan Stanley does not tend to disclose how much its advisors run, with only four of our reports including their clients’ assets.

However, turning once again to the average advisor-client book size of $120m, we can estimate that Morgan Stanley added over $1.6bn to its international wealth management business.

Morgan Stanley WM hires Client book size Location
Carlos Vasquez $125m San Diego
Nicolas Gustavo Rueda N/A Miami
Jorge Gomez N/A Miami
Gustavo Nicolas Cubas and Ricardo Harten N/A Coral Gables
Alejandro Mendoza Velasco $75m San Diego
Vinicius Bari N/A Miami
Miguel Monnichmeyer N/A Miami
Jose Daniel Larin and Fabiano Vianna N/A Aventura
Gaston Ricardes and Laureano Bello N/A Miami
Gabriel Patric N/A Miami
Eduardo Castro N/A Miami
Marco Antonio Olea, Carlos Candia and Gabriel Porzecanski $600m Miami
Pedro Lopes N/A Aventura
Julio Guemes $250m Miami

Next is hybrid RIA firm Snowden Lane Partners, which scored a total of 17 hires from Wells Fargo who opted to join its independent advisor platform.

In total, the new arrivals oversaw close to $2.1bn at the wirehouse, with their biggest catch being Tony Esses who ran a client book of around $800m.

Snowden Lane Partners hires Client book size Location
Armando Ureña, Johanna Haza and Omar Macias $360m Miami
Alfredo Garcia & Fabian Munoz $100m NYC
Mike Toledo, Jacobson Bathelmy, Wilton Mejia and Carolina Yepez $400m NYC
Joe Oliveira, Jessy Mogro, Ana Paula O’Keefe and Jorge Silva $210m NYC
Paula Oddone $140m Miami
Tony Esses $800m Miami
Marivi Rodriguez $70m Miami

Following closely behind with 15 hires is Alex. Brown. The firm has been one of the most active recruiters of Wells Fargo talent in the second half of the year, bringing in 11 advisors since May.

Overall, the 15 advisors they hired oversaw more than $2.7bn in client assets at Wells Fargo.

Alex. Brown hires Client book size Location
Pablo Annovelli $100m Miami
Christopher Murrle Philippsen $310m Miami
Juan Felipe Souza and Fernando Riojas N/A Miami
Jose Diaz, Veronica Cereceda, Robert Dunn, Astrid Rodriguez +1 $1.7bn Miami
Doraida Fernandez and Carlos Eduardo Paez $230m Miami
Alejandro Triana $100m Miami
Juan Martin Recio $120m Miami
James Levy and Jorge Benitez $200m Miami

Miami-based independent RIA and broker-dealer Insigneo also proved to be a popular destination for departing Wells Fargo advisors, with 13 opting to set up their own shop on the firm’s advisor platform.

The arrival that caught a lot of people’s attention was that of Ignacio Barcena, who at Wells Fargo ran over $7bn in client assets. Sources said at the time that a large portion of his assets came from one account.

Insigneo hires Client book size Location
Janel Vidal Perez N/A Miami
Luis Garcia Pinto N/A NYC
Alain Guerra and Edward Varona $345m Miami
Ignacio Barcena $7bn Miami
Isadora ‘Sisi’ del Llano, Yzana Oestreicher, Maria Elena Garcia and Nilia Gasson $800m Miami
Margaret Rivera N/A NYC
Jeffrey Kline Sr. and his son Jeffrey Kline II N/A Miami
Alden Baxter N/A NYC

Fellow independent advisor platform Bolton Global Capital also manage to recruit 12 advisors from the wirehouse, seven of which came from one team running around $1bn in assets.

Bolton Global Capital hires Client book size Location
Felix Bosque, Andrei Santos, Rafael Sotillo, Norvin Ulloa, Leonardo Tedeschi, Jorge Aguerrevere and Ernesto Amengual $1bn Miami
Joaquin Dupont and Federico Alonso / Mark Van Der Eijk and Jose Cano / Erick Mejia $650m Miami, Weston, Washington DC

Another firm whose hiring headcount from Wells Fargo hit double figures was Raymond James.

The Florida-based group added 11 advisors to its branches in Miami and Coral Gables. Their combined client books when they were at Wells Fargo totaled over $2.5bn.

Raymond James hires Client book size Location
Andres Galvez and Edwin Shedd $200m Miami
Griselda Uzcategui $125m Miami
Orlando Garcia and Lizzette Inchaustegui $700m Coral Gables
Maria Jose Pessoa $140m Miami
Javier Ferreira $240m Miami
Alberto Sisso $200m Miami
Miguel Viyella $800m Coral Gables
Oscar Gonzalez and Rafael Sagabarria $160m Coral Gables

Elsewhere, Sanctuary Wealth managed to secure an eight-person team from the wirehouse to add to their Mexico-focused units based in Texas.

Among the other groups that added a Wells Fargo international advisor to their ranks were Oppenheimer, VectorGlobal, Miura Capital and UCAP.

One of the big-name absentees from the recruitment frenzy was UBS Wealth Management, which only added one international advisor from Wells Fargo this year.

About Snowden Lane Partners

Snowden Lane is a nationally branded, open-architecture, hybrid registered investment advisor and
broker-dealer that provides wealth advisory services to high net-worth individuals, families, and
institutional clients.

Snowden Lane is led by an experienced team of industry executives, including Lyle LaMothe, Chairman
of the Board of Managers, Rob Mooney, Managing Partner & CEO, and Greg Franks, Managing Partner,
President & COO, who are dedicated to building a client-focused, nationally branded, boutique wealth
advisory partnership.

Snowden Lane is headquartered in New York City and operates an SEC registered investment adviser
and a broker-dealer. Snowden Lane provides a multi-custodian, multi-currency platform, with
aggregated performance reporting and leading analytical tools for clients and advisors. It further
provides full operational, finance, compliance, human resources, and financial advisor transition support
to its financial advisors.

Kevin Santo
Water & Wall