It may not be as sweet as the retention deal Morgan Stanley Smith Barney reps got earlier this year, but some Wells Fargo Advisors FAs are earning their bonus dollars through a client service program.
The 4Front Client Service and Loyalty Program launched in February to allow advisors a chance to earn bonus money through client service. The first of those checks, at least $25,000 per advisor, were recently issued and Wells expects the interest from advisors to spike in the next few quarters.
The program is setup to award reps who excel in client service. Advisors are expected to document their client services for each household through an “Envision Plan,” and submit those plans each quarter in order to qualify for a bonus. The Envision Plan is paperwork that keeps records of all the details regarding client accounts including retirement planning, life goals, investments, how many times the client and advisor have met, and changes that have been made to the plan. “The Envision Plan is in place to make sure these households have a life plan that is being addressed and updated according to changes that might come up in a client’s life,” says a Wells Fargo Advisors’ spokesperson.
The 4Front program was announced around the same time Wachovia advisors were told they wouldn’t be getting retention bonuses. However, 4Front was first launched in 2007 under Wachovia, but was enhanced to offer more bonus money and fewer restrictions. “We planned to announce this enhanced version of 4Front in February, because the AG Edwards conversion was complete. It was something they could participate in. The Wells merger has done zero to the program,” the spokesperson says.
Each quarter through June 2010, the firm takes a “snapshot” to look at how many households and assets advisors have in Envision Plans. The more households and assets with “Envision Plans,” the larger the bonus a rep can receive. Advisers qualify for the bonuses if they have at least 25 client households with assets of $250,000 or more enrolled in the program. The quarterly bonuses range from $25,000 to about 50 percent of trailing 12-month production.
Wells says it won’t know exactly how much bonus money was doled out in the first “snapshot” or how many advisors are participating until next month. (The deadline for the first “snapshot was June 30. The next deadline is September 30.) “At the outset we were pretty stunned at the interest. It has taken us longer to get the first round of paychecks into their hands because of number of advisors who qualified,” the spokesperson adds.
The program is set to expire in June 2010, and Wells says it’s not sure if it will be extended.