And Wells Fargo isn’t shy about its strategy, as it and other big banks turn more toward wealth management to compensate for diminished fees from the rest of the customer public with more down-to-earth asset levels. Those fees from traditional banking or debit card purchases are being constrained by recent financial reform laws.
Abbot Downing is the newly-branded Wells Fargo business led by James Steiner. It has $27.5 billion in client assets and a staff of approximately 300. It is the result of combing two Wells Fargo businesses, Wells Fargo Family Wealth and Lowry Hill. The firm is part of Wells Fargo’s Wealth, Brokerage and Retirement group, one of the largest U.S. wealth managers, with $1.3 trillion in client assets.
The name Abbot Downing refers to a 19th-century New Hampshire builder of the iconic stagecoaches that have become synonymous with Wells Fargo, which was Abbot Downing’s largest customer.
The Abbot Downing brand will launch in April 2012. Abbot Downing serves clients through offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Scottsdale, Denver, Houston, Minneapolis, Chicago, Philadelphia, Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Raleigh, Naples, Jacksonville, Washington, D.C., and Palm Beach.
“Abbot Downing goes beyond traditional wealth planning analysis by focusing on clients’ values, goals and vision,” Steiner said.
U.S. Bancorp, a Wells Fargo rival, announced last spring that it was creating a new business targeting investors with assets of $25 million or more. Its new Ascent Private Capital Management unit is set to open next month in Minneapolis.
Wells Fargo plans to expand beyond traditional wealth management and integrate services that can involve merger and acquisition services, insurance, or commercial banking.
If a family business owner wants to sell, Wells Fargo gives as an example, “Abbot Downing can partner with Wells Fargo Securities to provide access to private equity firms and other qualified buyers, helping business owners turn their illiquid assets into liquid assets to be reinvested.”