This is an updated version of the story that ran in this morning's issue.
Wells Fargo’s total number of financial and wealth advisors shrank during the last three months of the year while advisor productivity grew, according to its quarterly results released this morning.
The wirehouse lost 185 advisors in the quarter, ending with 12,367 financial and wealth advisors at the end December 31. That figure is down by 1,146 from 13,513 one year prior.
However, productivity among advisors rose during the fourth quarter. Annualized revenue per advisor was $1.17 million during the fourth quarter, up from just over $1 million during the same period of 2020 and $1.1 million the third quarter.
"Advisor productivity continues to rise, attrition is slowing, and recruiting momentum is building," a spokesperson for Wells Fargo told FA-IQ, via email. "At Wells Fargo we feel positive about recruiting heading into 2022 and are excited about our compensation plans, which are simpler and feature increased deferred compensation for advisors who build their books by taking great care of clients."
The number of advisors fell 8.5% from the same period last year and dipped 1.5% from the third quarter. However, Wells Fargo says that it saw an increase in retirement in the last three months of 2021, which is typical in the fourth quarter. The year-over-year comparison also includes the departure of advisors focused on international clients, who began departing in the second quarter of 2021, according to Wells. The wirehouse decided last year to exit its international wealth management segments, as reported.
Wells Fargo reported $2.18 trillion in total client assets within its wealth and investment management unit, up from $2 trillion in the same period last year, a 9% hike.
Assets in the wealth and investment management unit grew 4% from nearly $2.1 trillion in the third quarter, Wells Fargo said.
Total revenue in Wells Fargo’s wealth and investment management unit was $3.65 billion, up from $3.45 billion the same period last year, a 6% hike. “Revenue increased 6%, primarily due to higher asset-based fees on higher market valuations,” the bank said, in a statement.
Wealth and investment management revenue rose 1% from $3.62 billion in the third quarter.
Overall, the bank earned $1.38 a share on profit of $5.75 billion, up from 66 cents a share and profit of $3.09 billion in the same period last year, easily surpassing Wall Street’s expectations. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had forecast earnings of $1.11 a share on profit of $4.5 billion, according to Barron’s.
Wells Fargo’s total fourth-quarter revenue was $20.86 billion, up from $18.5 billion in the prior year’s quarter.
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