Despite a surge in earnings from its wealth, brokerage and retirement group, Wells Fargo & Co. reported a decline in overall net income in the first quarter.

The San Francisco company announced Wednesday its net income declined 16% to $2.5 billion from a year earlier. This marked the weakest quarter since it bought Wachovia Corp. at the end of 2008.

Wells Fargo's [WFC] wealth, brokerage and retirement group, reported that its net income increased 60% to $282 million from a year earlier, but this business contributes less than 10% of the company’s overall earnings.

The group, which includes the company’s private bank and Wells Fargo Advisors, increased its revenue 10% from the previous quarter to $2.9 billion and 16% from a year earlier. It increased its assets under management 21% to $1.25 trillion from a year earlier.

Wells Fargo attributed the growth it an increase in asset-based fees and brokerage transactional activity.
Overall, Wells Fargo generated $21.5 billion in revenue in the first quarter, the lowest in four quarter.

After paying dividends on preferred stock, the company earned 45 cents per share in the first quarter, down from 56 cents per share a year earlier. Analysts expected it to earn 42 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters.


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