Wells Fargo loses $500M team to SunTrust

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SunTrust’s retail brokerage arm has lured away a four-person advisor team with $500 million in assets from beleaguered Wells Fargo.

Jeff Pratt, a 22-year Wells Fargo veteran, said he was drawn to SunTrust’s “culture of working as a team” and ease of operations. He joined the Atlanta-based bank in Charleston, South Carolina, with another private financial advisor, Bryan Kazley, and two investment associates, last week.
Pratt and his team are still in the early stages of bringing over clients, a transition that so far has been “very smooth” thanks to the support he has received from Suntrust, Pratt said.

Pratt worked for Wells Fargo or its predecessors for the past 22 years. Kazley has worked there for 15, according to Kazley’s BrokerCheck report.

The team joins a slew of other advisors who have been leaving Wells Fargo in large numbers. In April, for example, Raymond James nabbed two teams that collectively managed $783 million in client assets. Other big departures in April included a $1.2 billion advisor who left for J.P. Morgan Securities and a $225 million planner who joined RBC Wealth Management.

At the end of the first quarter, Wells Fargo had 14,399 advisors, down 2% year-over-year, according to its latest earnings release. Since the sales practices scandal broke in September 2016, Wells Fargo has lost 687 advisors.

Pratt noted, however, that the reasons that attracted him to SunTrust were stronger than the reasons that drove him away from Wells Fargo.

“In this business, you’re looking for the best fit for you and your clients,” he said.

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