Wells Fargo May Want A Big Brokerage Buy Of Its Own...Or Just Insurance

Monday, March 14, 2011 00:03
Wells Fargo May Want A Big Brokerage Buy Of Its Own...Or Just Insurance

Tags: Wells Fargo

Not content to be a massive retail bank or the third-biggest brokerage operation out there, Wells Fargo is reportedly looking for big M&A opportunities.

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CEO John Stumpf has been making the rounds teasing about acquisitions ahead.


We know he wants to move upmarket to give his already-significant brokerage force -- the sum of previous buys like A.G. Edwards, Wachovia and Pru -- a solid presence in the wealth management space.


The question is who he'd have to buy among the high-end firms to generate appreciable scale. Wilmington Trust is off the table, but if Wells Fargo could find a comparable trust bank like Glenmede, there might be a fit.


Wells Fargo already has roughly 10% of the retail deposits in the country, which it effectively the regulatory limit: it can't grow any bigger in its conventional banking business.


Another option may be buying an insurer or two -- maybe someone in the annuity space to give Stumpf a product to sell into the wealth management channel, not to mention his bank branches. 


This piece of the puzzle hasn't been put in place yet, but it would make a whole lot of sense.



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