Wells Fargo Loses $7 Billion Advisor Amid Falling Headcount
By Andrew Welsch
Another big advisor has bid farewell to Wells Fargo .
Ignacio Barcena, who oversaw $7 billion in client assets, and his assistant, Liliana Borrero, left the firm to join Insigneo, a Miami-based independent broker-dealer that has picked up a bevy of ex-Wells Fargo advisors this year.
The move represents another significant win for Insigneo and another loss for Wells Fargo, which has struggled to retain advisors.
Barcena, who is based in Miami, spent much of his 30-year career at Wells Fargo and predecessor firm Prudential Securities. He caters to wealthy clients from Latin America.
“Now more than ever, with the current times we’re living in, making this change is right for me and my team, but most importantly for my own clients,” Barcena said in a statement. “I am confident Insigneo is the best fit and is going to lead us in the right direction.”
A Wells Fargo representative was unavailable for immediate comment.
The bank has suffered significant advisor attrition in recent years as the consumer bank has been rocked by fake account scandals and regulatory inquiries. Headcount at the end of the third quarter stood at 12,552, down a net 1,241 year over year, according to the company’s earnings report. Some advisors have left to join competitors while others have departed to launch their own independent firms. For instance, a group of advisors who oversaw $5 billion in assets under administration at Wells Fargo’s private bank quit to open an independent firm, Private Wealth Asset Management, in September.
Also contributing to the decline in headcount was Wells Fargo’s decision earlier this year to exit the international wealth management segment and focus on its core business of serving U.S. clients. The policy shift prompted a slew of advisors who cater to that clientele to look for employment elsewhere, with many of them landing at Insigneo and Snowden Lane Partners, an independent firm based in New York and founded by former Merrill Lynch executives.
Among the more notable recruits in recent months, Insigneo picked up an all-female team from Wells Fargo Advisors in July. That Miami-based group managed more than $800 million in assets. A month earlier, Snowden Lane recruited a solo advisor who managed a similar level of assets at Wells Fargo.
Insigneo has made a strong recruiting push in 2021.