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ON THE MOVE-Wells Fargo lands broker teams from UBS, Merrill

Friday, 12 Oct 2012 | 2:51 PM ET

By Ashley Lau

Oct 12 (Reuters) - Wells Fargo & Co's independent brokerage business has expanded in Florida and Oregon with veteran adviser teams that joined the company from rival firms UBS Wealth Management Americas and Bank of America's Merrill Lynch.

The teams, which each managed more than $200 million in client assets, are among the latest to join Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network, or "FiNet," the company's brokerage division catering to independent advisers who also function as business owners.

"Our family business is a key thing," said Florida-based adviser Robert McKinnon, a former UBS branch manager who moved to Wells to open his own practice with his son, Kevin McKinnon, and son-in-law, Matthew Wright.

The three were previously advisers with UBS Wealth Management Americas, the U.S. brokerage business owned by the Swiss bank UBS AG , where they managed $211 million in client assets.

McKinnon said many of the team's clients are also small business owners themselves.

"This move will help us understand their situation even better," said McKinnon, who had been with UBS and its predecessor firms for more than three decades before moving last week.

The team remained in Fort Lauderdale, where they had previously been based with UBS.

Also on the move, in Oregon, advisers Michael Coursey, Rob Norton, Ryan Skogstad and Benny Won joined Wells' FiNet in late September from Merrill Lynch, the brokerage owned by Bank of America Corp . They managed $250 million in client assets at Merrill.

The team together formed Capstone Wealth Advisors LLC at Wells and are based in Salem.

Wells said it also recently added two other adviser teams from Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley Wealth Management in late September, as previously reported by Reuters. Those teams, based in California and Maryland, respectively, managed $349 million in client assets at their old firms.

San Francisco-based Wells Fargo & Co, which also has a traditional employee broker-dealer and banking division, has the third-largest U.S. brokerage by client assets, after Morgan Stanley Wealth Management and Merrill Lynch. UBS's brokerage business ranks fourth. The four firms often compete for similar teams of veteran advisers.

Wells' brokerage business, based in St. Louis, has more than 15,000 advisers with about $1.2 trillion in client assets among its brokerage subsidiaries. Roughly $55.5 billion of those assets came from its independent unit, which now has more than 1,100 owners and advisers in more than 540 practices.

(Reporting by Ashley Lau in New York; editing by Matthew Lewis)

((Ashley.Lau@thomsonreuters.com)(+1 646 223 5964)(Reuters Messaging: ashley.lau.reuters.com@reuters.net)(Twitter @ReutersMoves))

Keywords: WELLS FARGO/

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