The brokerage business of Wells Fargo of San Francisco, and independent b/d Raymond James Financial Inc. of St. Petersburg, Fla., both reported mixed performances today, with sharply higher year-over-year profits contrasting with more subdued sequential results.
Wells Fargo’s Wealth, Brokerage and Retirement segment, which includes Wells Fargo Advisors and its independent broker/dealer unit, Wells Fargo Financial Network, reported third-quarter profits of $256 million, down 5 percent from the second quarter, while revenues of $2.91 billion were up just 1.57 percent. Year over year, profit jumped 131 percent while revenue was up 5 percent. Higher asset-based revenue partially offset lower transactional revenue and securities gains in the brokerage business, the company said.
Retail client assets of $1.1 trillion were up 4 percent year over year but flat sequentially. So, too, was the number of financial advisors at 15,088, but the number of licensed bankers in the retail branches was down 10 percent quarter over quarter, to 4,569. WFA’s parent bank reported record net income of $3.34 billion for the quarter.
Morningstar analyst Jaime Peters, who follows Wells Fargo, said the low revenue for the quarter was something she saw across the industry. “You really just didn’t see a lot of growth,” she said. “We saw pretty light trading in the second half of the summer and that might be reflected in the flat revenues, even though they had higher assets. I’m not terribly worried about it. I don’t think it’s a systemic issue.” Wells Fargo said its client assets were up 5 percent from the second quarter, while managed account assets were up 10 percent, but Peters said this is more a reflection of market growth rather than net inflows of new money. Wells Fargo spokeswoman Rachelle Rowe declined to comment on the company’s report.
Raymond James Financial said its fourth-quarter total revenues of $763.2 million were up 13 percent year over year but flat compared to its third quarter. Profits were sharply higher; the company had net income of $66.2 million last quarter, up 61 percent year over year, while fiscal 2010 profits were up 49 percent over 2009, to $218.7 million. Client assets under administration of $249 billion set a new record, the company said; net inflow data was not reported. Raymond James Financial had 4,729 advisors at the end of the quarter, flat from the previous quarter.