Wells Fargo & Co. might be preparing to offload its institutional retirement and trust business in a $1.2 billion deal, but the move, and other efforts to streamline its business, aren't an indication that the firm is considering putting its asset management unit on the chopping block next, a company executive said.
Jonathan G. Weiss, senior executive vice president and head of the wealth and investment management division, which includes Wells Fargo Asset Management, said "there's a lot of reasons that we like the business and we're not looking to sell it."
"We think it has scale. We think it has synergies with the rest of our wealth businesses," Mr. Weiss added. "It's an intellectual capital business, and we like that. It's profitable."
Less than a week before Wells Fargo announced April 9 it was selling its institutional retirement and trust business to Principal Financial Group, the firm detailed a brand redesign for WFAM, which included consolidating the online presence of its various asset management brands.
As part of the branding campaign and redesign, the three websites for WFAM, Wells Capital Management and Wells Fargo Funds Management were consolidated into one, an April 4 news release said.
According to Mr. Weiss, while the firm has done a lot of work to make WFAM more integrated over the past couple of years, it also sees room for future growth by attracting new talent and adding investment strategies to its lineup.
As of March 31, San Francisco-based WFAM reported $476 billion in assets under management, down 4% from the previous year, primarily due to equity and fixed-income net outflows and the sale of WFAM's ownership stake in The Rock Creek Group, the firm's first-quarter earnings release said.