Big Midwest Group Shifts to Ameriprise Franchise from Wells Fargo’s FiNet
Bison Financial Group, a collection of eight independent brokerage offices with 15 advisors, has switched its broker-dealer affiliation after eight years with Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network (FiNet) to Ameriprise Financial Services.
Two of the Indiana-based Bison’s offices, one in Terre Haute and the other in Melbourne, Fla., have split off and are remaining under the FiNet umbrella as solo practices, confirmed David Vorbeck, Bison’s president and chief executive. The offices included about five brokers.
Wells Fargo sent Bison’s principals a disaffiliation letter about a month ago, according to several sources who declined to comment on the reasons for the notice.
“This is a positive change,” Vorbeck said in a brief phone call on Tuesday, a week after re-registering with Ameriprise’s “franchise” channel. “We see Ameriprise as the future for our firm.”
Vorbeck, who began his career at Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers and Smith Barney but has run an independent practice for more than 15 years with Bison partner Stephen Dunnuck, declined to comment on whether Bison had received a “dis-affiliation” notice from Wells. A Wells spokeswoman also declined to comment.
Ameriprise said that the Bison team has $437 million in assets under management.
“I think one of the things that impressed the team most about Ameriprise is the dedicated leadership and support they’ll receive within our independent channel,” senior franchise field vice president Patricia Moll said in a prepared statement. “We’re in this together with them – helping attract, serve and retain target-market clients.”
Vorbeck and Dunnuck, who have worked together since 1997 when they were with bank-housed broker-dealer Invest Financial Corp, funnel more than 50% of their affiliate offices’ gross revenue into Bison, said one source who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The Florida affiliate, which is organized under the names of its principals as Gear and Buchanan Wealth Management, produced more than 20% of Bison’s revenue, the source said.
The firm will continue to operate under the Bison name, which “represents the values, the emotive response of what we want the firm to represent — strength, heritage, midwestern values,” he said.