Wells Fargo Combines Ultra High Net Worth Businesses Under New Brand, Abbot Downing
SAN FRANCISCO — November 1, 2011
Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) announced today an increased focus on serving the growing segment of individuals and families with $50 million or more in assets, as well as their foundations and endowments, through a newly branded boutique to be known as Abbot Downing, a Wells Fargo Business.
Abbot Downing combines two well established Wells Fargo businesses–Wells Fargo Family Wealth and Lowry Hill. The combined firm, led by James Steiner, has $27.5 billion in client assets and a staff of approximately 300. 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 as of Sept. 30.
Abbot Downing was a 19th-century New Hampshire builder of the iconic stagecoaches that have come to represent Wells Fargo, who was Abbot Downing’s largest customer. Abbot Downing was known worldwide for their ingenuity, high-quality craftsmanship, and distinctive passenger experience.
“We pride ourselves on the values on which Abbot Downing was founded and will use the name to reflect the tailored solutions, high-touch service and attention to detail our clients expect,” Steiner said. “With the strength of Wells Fargo, our team of highly specialized professionals delivers a full suite of services to address the financial, social and human dimensions of multi-generational wealth.”
The Abbot Downing brand will be launched in April 2012. The firm, which has financial relationships with clients dating back generations, will seek to expand its market share among the roughly 10,000 households in the U. S. that have $50 million or more in investable assets and collectively control more than $1 trillion.
“By helping clients access the financial strength and tremendous breadth of capabilities across Wells Fargo, we have a significant opportunity to grow in this market,” said David Carroll, head of Wealth, Brokerage and Retirement. “Whether the client needs merger and acquisition services, insurance, or commercial banking, we can integrate our services across Wells Fargo and ultimately provide a better client experience.”
If a family business owner is ready to sell, for 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. U.S. middle market M&A deal activity was up 30 percent in the first half of 2011 from the first half of 2010, according to Thomson Financial. Privately held firms represented almost 60 percent of M&A deals. Families who experience sudden wealth from such liquidity events have complex needs beyond the scope of investment management.
“Abbot Downing goes beyond traditional wealth planning analysis by focusing on clients’ values, goals and vision,” Steiner said. “Our advisors and Family Dynamics consultants focus not only on traditional wealth planning, such as cash flow, investments and wealth transfer, but also on human dimensions, such as family legacy, governance, leadership transition, family education and risk management.”
The firm has teams of regionally based investment managers who act as chief investment officers to their clients. In combination with Wells Fargo, Abbot Downing conducts exhaustive manager research to provide sophisticated solutions not widely available to individual investors. The firm’s investment capabilities include trading and customized investment solutions for complex client needs. Objectivity to avoid conflicts of interest is a key tenet of the investment process. Trust and fiduciary services address wealth structuring, wealth management and wealth transition.
Credit solutions include customized leverage to meet estate, financial and investment planning objectives; personal lines of credit; specialized financing for aircraft, yachts and alternative investments; and investment finance for commercial real estate, LLCs and LLPs. Banking products include checking, foreign exchange and business checking; treasury management; and interest rate risk management.
Abbot Downing serves clients nationwide 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.
Wells Fargo & Company is a nationwide, diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.3 trillion in assets. Founded in 1852, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through more than 9,000 stores, 12,000 ATMs, the Internet (wellsfargo.com and wachovia.com), and distribution channels across North America and internationally. With approximately 270,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in America. Wells Fargo & Company ranked No. 23 on Fortune’s 2011 rankings of America’s largest corporations.
Abbot Downing provides products and services through Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. and its various affiliates and subsidiaries.
Wells Fargo Bank, N. A. Member FDIC