Wells Fargo & Co., owner of the third-largest U.S. retail brokerage, will increase potential bonuses for its more than 15,000 financial advisors in 2014.
Brokers bringing in revenue of at least $2.1 million can earn a bonus of as much as 11 percent, according to documents reviewed by Bloomberg News. That’s an increase from 8.5 percent this year, according to two people with direct knowledge of the company’s practices.
Advisors who produce $300,000 of revenue could get 8.25 percent, according to the documents. That would be a raise from 2 percent in 2013, said the people, who asked for anonymity to discuss the confidential plan. Copies were distributed to managers and some financial advisors this week, the people said.
Chief Executive Officer John Stumpf is revising pay formulas as the lender seeks to retain brokers and boost assets under management. The bank competes for talent with Morgan Stanley, the world’s biggest brokerage, and Bank of America Corp.’s Merrill Lynch, which are striving to hold down costs. The new plan gives advisors more ways to reach targets and provides lower producers incentives to improve, the people said.
Bonuses depend on meeting a series of targets tied to different products and assets set by the San Francisco-based lender, according to the documents. The firm will offer deferred cash awards that vest over five years, one of the people said.
Raschelle Burton, a company spokeswoman, said Wells Fargo had no comment on the bonus plan.
The largest U.S. brokerages are redoing pay plans amid efforts to reduce staff turnover and recruiting costs. Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman, who leads about 16,500 advisors, said in October that compensation expenses may fall as brokers switch firms less frequently. Bank of America, based in Charlotte, N.C., won’t offer new retention bonuses to Merrill Lynch’s top performers, John Thiel, the unit’s chief, said in an Oct. 14 interview. The firm employs about 14,000 brokers.
Wells Fargo’s new package coincides with the arrival of Mary Mack, 51, the brokerage chief who takes over from retiring head Danny Ludeman, 57, on Jan. 1. Mack will encourage advisors to enroll clients in managed accounts that carry an annual fee rather than those where the advisor picks individual stocks, she said in an October interview. The pay policies apply to advisors who manage both kinds of accounts, the people said.
Stock and bond commissions, annual client advisory fees, loan credits and annuity fees are among the revenue items that contribute to broker compensation, according to the company’s policies.