Morning Coffee Dec 08 2010

Wells Fargo Mulling Possible Acquisition

By julie steinberg

In a move aimed at closing the gap between it and its competitors, Wells Fargo is adding workers to its wealth management unit and would be open to get bigger by acquisition, CEO John Stumpf said at an investor conference yesterday.

Stumpf said that the company is "sub-optimized" in wealth management because it captures a smaller market share relative to its deposit base. It currently has $1.3 trillion in client assets, and ranks third in size on the list of the four wirehouse brokerages. The wealth unit contributed 6.9% of the bank's third quarter profit.

Stumpf is interested in selling insurance, a product the company would quickly be able to sell if it made an acquisition. Wells wants to offer a greater variety of products to existing clientele. (Bloomberg)

BAML Hiring (FINS)
Watch out, online brokerages. Bank of America Merrill Lynch is coming for your clients. The firm plans to bring on 600 financial solutions advisors to staff its center for retail investors with less than $250,000 to invest.

Shifting Assignments (Bloomberg)
In order to cope with mounds of mortgage modifications (say that three times fast), BofA is moving some of its salespeople into servicing roles. Did we say some? A couple thousand, actually.

Leaving London (FINalternatives)
Longacre Fund Management, a New York-based hedge fund, will shut down its London office at the end of December. It's unclear how many will be laid off, but does the shuttering portend future exoduses from the City?

Avoiding Ageism (Daily Finance)
Everyone knows that it's harder to get a job if you're getting on in years. But making tradeoffs, like being willing to travel, may make it easier to get an offer.

Making a Comeback (FINS)
Two years ago, B-schools were begging banks to come recruit. Now banks are calling them and asking for space on campus. Wall Street MBA recruitment is slowly edging back to 2008 levels, though it isn't quite there yet.

Trading Places (Financial News)
Forget London and New York. A new paper says that high-frequency trading firms would be able to trade at even faster speeds if they set up their servers in some remote areas, like the middle of the Australian desert and in the North Pole. We wonder what housing prices are like in the middle of nowhere.

The Great White Way (NYPost)
Patrick Bateman is back again. "American Psycho," the classic book and movie, will be made into a Broadway play with Duncan Sheik taking care of the music. Can an audience handle graphic depictions of torture and murder? Some of us couldn't make it past page 60.

Party All Night Long (Forbes)
'Tis the season for office holiday parties, and while you may be tempted by the spiked eggnog, refrain from indulging. Subjecting your colleagues (and superiors) to a drunken version of "Let's Get It On" may not deliver the message that you're promotion-ready. Stick to a glass of wine and call it a day.

List of the Day: Best Books for FAs
Christmas vacation is coming up, and what better time to crack open some field texts along with the chestnuts? Here are the most popular books on Amazon for financial advisors -- in reverse order (for fun):

3. The Million-Dollar Financial Services Practice: A Proven System for Becoming a Top Producer, by David J. Mullen Jr.

2. The Million-Dollar Financial Advisor: Powerful Lessons and Proven Strategies from Top Producers, by David J. Mullen Jr.

1. Storyselling for Financial Advisors: How Top Producers Sell, by Scott West and Mitch Anthony

(Source: Bank Investment Consultant)

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