Wells Fargo Raids Lehman Bros for Top Broker

By Plasencia, William | American Banker, May 6, 1996 | Go to article overview

Wells Fargo Raids Lehman Bros for Top Broker


Plasencia, William, American Banker


Signaling determination to become a leading provider of investment services, Wells Fargo & Co. has hired a Wall Street executive to run its brokerage and private banking units.

Dennis J. Mooradian was named president of Wells Fargo Securities Inc. and head of Wells' private banking group, effective today. Mr. Mooradian, who will also be an executive vice president of Wells Fargo Bank, had been with Lehman Brothers since 1977, most recently as a managing director and chief operating officer in its global private client services division.

At Wells, Mr. Mooradian reports to Clyde W. Ostler, the vice chairman who oversees the bank's investment activities. Mr. Mooradian will be responsible for 425 brokers in Wells branches as well as a number of private bankers.

Mr. Ostler said Mr. Mooradian - who has never worked for a commercial bank - was chosen precisely for his Wall Street expertise. Buoyed by its recent merger with First Interstate Bancorp, Wells is now hoping to compete more aggressively with established national brokerage firms.

"Dennis will take our bank to the next level," Mr. Ostler said in a telephone interview Thursday."We want to be better than a bank, and better than a brokerage."

Mr. Mooradian was not available for comment. While at Lehman, he managed sales to high-net-worth individuals and middle-market institutions, an effort well-regarded by observers of the brokerage scene.

"Generally, in Lehman's high-net-worth business, salespeople are expected to produce $1 million a year," said Perrin H. Long, an independent brokerage-industry analyst in Darien, Conn. To reach that goal, Lehman aggressively targets the same affluent customers who would be extremely attractive to an organization like Wells, he added.

"High-net-worth individuals also may require from Wells trust administration services, mortgage loans for real estate, or a fancy credit card," Mr. Long said. "There are a whole host of things they may want from Wells Fargo." Indeed, Mr. Ostler said, Wells is counting on Mr. Mooradian to move its retail brokerage "away from strictly dealing with branch referrals."

"One of the mistakes that we have made was thinking that the world breaks down into people that buy mutual funds and others that need investment management" and fiduciary advice, Mr. …

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