After the recent consolidation of its private bank and other operations, Wells Fargo Advisors reported last month that its network of 12,367 financial advisers could face further reorganization in 2022.
In the filing at the end of February with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Wells Fargo Clearing Services, which does business as Wells Fargo Advisors, noted that its parent, Wells Fargo & Co., is pursuing a variety of initiatives to reduce expenses and streamline its businesses.
Actions from those initiatives could include, among other things, “rationalizing branch and
administrative locations, which may include consolidations and closures,” according to the firm’s annual audited financial statement, called a Focus report.
No details about closing branches or offices of Wells Fargo Advisors locations were included in the Focus report.
But the firm made a similar disclosure in its Focus report to the SEC last year, soon after the bank said that Jim Hays, head of Well Fargo Advisors, was gaining more responsibility as the bank’s 800 or so private wealth advisers, private bankers and portfolio managers moved under his purview after a restructuring. It also had replicated services in some areas and brought those operations together.
A Wells Fargo Advisors spokesperson declined to comment.
Large organizations typically consider branch consolidations as leases on office spaces are ready to expire, and Wells Fargo Advisors could very well be considering that, particularly as the financial advice industry prepares to make the transition back to the office as Covid restrictions lessen.
Many argue that financial advisers will never return to the office full-time. Who knows how much office space, a considerable expense, will be needed for financial advisers in the future?
“This is ongoing for every firm,” said Danny Sarch, an industry recruiter. “We’re on the cusp of the end of Covid, or at least we hope to be, and the firms don’t know how to deal with this, especially where commuting is an issue for financial advisers. And what if the lead producer on a team of advisers wants everyone back at the office, but his number two doesn’t want to lose two or three hours each day to commuting again?”
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Andrew is half-human, half-gamer. He’s also a science fiction author writing for BleeBot.