$1.7B Wells Fargo Team Jumps to Midwest Firm Noyes

Financial Advisor IQ

A Chicago wealth management and investment banking firm has snatched a $1.7 billion financial advisor team from Wells Fargo Advisors, the Indianapolis Business Journal reports.

Led by brothers Chris and Brian Cooke, the 11-person Cooke Financial Group will become the largest branch of 108-year old firm David A. Noyes & Co., according to the publication. The Cookes are joining the firm as partners and will buy into Noyes to become part owners, Chris Cooke tells IBJ.

Cooke Financial plans to keep its employees as well as its office, which it will sublease from Wells Fargo, the publication writes. The firm will also continue working with custodian and clearing services provider First Clearing Corp., which is a Wells Fargo affiliate.

Brian Cooke tells IBJ the move was done on a “friendly basis.” The brothers also tell the publication they were motivated to make the move in part because Noyes, which has an investment banking unit, will enable them to offer their clients new products and services.

But the move was also precipitated by a desire to “eliminate the conflict of interest that may arise by being associated with a wirehouse,” Chris Cooke says in a press release from Noyes.

Wells Fargo has been mired in controversy following revelations that its retail branch employees opened two million fake deposit and credit accounts without customers’ knowledge. The company has paid $185 million in fines but regulators continue to call for further investigations. Wells Fargo Advisors, the wealth management arm of the company, has been left relatively unscathed by the scandal, but a plaintiff law firm has launched an investigation into whether its brokers participated in similarly aggressive sales tactics.

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