American multinational financial services firm Wells Fargo announced on Thursday, March 11, that it will retire the Abbot Downing wealth management brand as part of its restructuring move.
The unit, which services the ultra-rich, accounts for a minimum of $50 million and will be rebranded as a private bank. It took ten years for the bank to fold the wealth management division, which serves ultra-high-net-worth clients.
Despite his news, the bank will still service high-net-worth clients, with more than $47 billion in assets in total.
“The Abbot Downing relationship managers will continue to serve clients under the new job title of Family Officer Advisors. The branding change will happen in phases,” said wealth management spokesperson Julie Andrews.
Moving the unit into a larger private bank will enhance the bank’s services for a wider group of customers. The consolidation comes after Wells Fargo decided to sell its asset management business to private equity firms for $2.1 billion.
According to the memo, the bank is only introducing a new name for which they’ll do the same business and maintain to grow the ultra-high-net-worth business. Jack Ginter will continue to hold his position as the President of the Wells Fargo Private Bank.
The move to consider private banking isn’t new in the financial services industry, as separating the units for the wealthy can benefit both the client and the bank. It can help managers deal with the unique challenges of each customer holding substantial assets.
In addition to financial advising and management, the Abbot Downing unit specialized in helping young heirs inherit family assets, crafting a specialized tax strategy. Wells Fargo is simply unifying the wealth and investment businesses to one, in light of a transformation happening during a difficult time.
Abbot Downing was named after stagecoaches in the 19th century.