As Wells Fargo begins its summer-long re-branding of Wachovia and A.G. Edwards, some financial advisors at what is now the largest retail brokerage firm in the U.S. — 16,000 FAs — say the integration of Wachovia and A.G. Edwards is still incomplete. (Wachovia purchased A.G. Edwards on March 31, 2007.) One top AG Edwards advisor says the back-office is in such disarray that he hasn't received an accurate paycheck in the past 7 months, and a recent routine mutual fund trade request was botched, with only 90 percent of shares requested purchased. Complaints submitted online have been left unresolved.
A Wachovia spokesman says the firm is working as fast as it can to iron out merger-related issues. “People have been moved around, they're learning new processes, new jobs,” he says. Wachovia Securities president and CEO, Daniel Ludeman, recently apologized to the brokerage force regarding the merger of the two firms and admitted many promises had not been fulfilled.
A couple of months ago, the firm launched a program aimed at fixing integration problems called the Service Quality Roadmap. Jim Donley, the former president of Wachovia Securities private client group, who retired in 2006, and Ron Kessler, Wachovia's head of operations, are traveling around the country, taking note of brokers' complaints.