Wells Fargo aims to bolster investment banking via campus and lateral recruitment

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Wells Fargo Securities has been adding experienced investment bankers and has also been moving full speed ahead with its university recruitment efforts to stock its analyst program with talent.

Here’s what you need to know about the bank’s campus and lateral recruitment initiatives.

Wells Fargo Securities campus recruitment

Wells Fargo Securities has various banking, capital markets and advisory divisions, including underwriting, M&A advisory, sales, trading and research desks, working with corporate, government and institutional clients.

The bank hires interns and full-time analysts for the following businesses: investment banking; Eastdil Secured real estate investment banking; the markets division, which includes sales and trading; asset-backed finance; municipal products; Investment Portfolio Group, a credit-focused investment team based in San Francisco; public finance, originating and structuring transactions for municipal and not-for-profit bond issuers; and research/economics.

“We recruit from both core and non-core schools and also source talent from national diversity partnerships and internal feeder program efforts such as our freshman and sophomore forums,” says Leah Stewart, a senior vice president of talent acquisition and a recruiting manager of wholesale campus recruiting at Wells Fargo.

This summer, 190 interns participated in the Wells Fargo Securities Summer Analyst Program. The internship program has experienced 49% growth since 2013. More than 80% of summer interns are offered a full-time analyst role.

“We’re able to recruit both at the very junior levels, including interns and recent college graduates, who feed into various training programs, including investment banking and middle-market banking,” says Brian Drake, a senior VP and talent acquisition manager at Wells Fargo. “The [preferred approach] for us is to bring in talent at that level, train them, acculturate them to the company and allow them to grow and move up throughout the company, depending on what they want to do

“We have our core schools where we’ll host on-campus information sessions and first-round interviews, but we also take write-in candidates,” he says. “We’ll broadly publicize the positions we have at many more universities and allow those students to apply to those programs through our websites.

“Including Wells Fargo Securities, we have more than a dozen internship programs across Wells Fargo – some are rotational, while some are much more targeted on a specific product group or industry coverage area.”

Wells Fargo Securities experienced/lateral recruitment

Drake oversees both campus and lateral recruitment for the wealth and investment management (WIM) division, which includes product client groups, the brokerage team, wealth management, asset management and the institutional retirement group, and the wholesale banking division, which includes investment banking, middle-market banking, corporate banking, government banking, institutional banking and business banking.

“There are always gaps to fill or specific talent needs across the businesses, and our lateral recruitment teams include an internal executive recruiting group, which covers jobs at or above a certain level and comp threshold,” Drake says. “We have an internal referral process as well.”

The bank’s recruiters put a lot of energy into bringing in military veterans. There is a 10-week internship program for recently discharged veterans that started in the Securities group two years ago and has since expanded across the bank, tripling in size.

“The goal is to introduce them to an area of the business they might be successful in, to train and acculturate them and hopefully place them into a full-time role. But even if that doesn’t work out, they’ve secured great training and a line on their resume that they can use to get a job in another part of our bank or elsewhere in the industry,” Drake says.

Recruiting mid-level lateral candidates for the investment banking division is exceptionally competitive, per Drake. Some IB roles are based in New York and other markets but most are in Charlotte, N.C.

“It is a tough business, obviously, and we push our recruiters and hiring managers hard to have diversity in every candidate pool that we evaluate,” he says. “We look for individuals with industry experience who meet the qualifications of the position for whatever group within investment banking team that they’re applying to, and often a specific type of candidate that is more attracted to Charlotte.

“If you’re a relatively young professional fresh out of school, then you may be more attracted to a New York type of environment, so we have to counteract that for our Charlotte opportunities – there are a lot of great amenities here, and it tends to attract more of the [investment banking] professionals with young families. That said, the Charlotte region offers a significant bang for the buck when it comes to cost of living, so when the recent grads arrive, they end up liking it.”

In addition to targeting investment bankers at Bank of America, which is Wells Fargo’s largest competitor in Charlotte, the bank draws talent form boutique investment banks and private equity firms from across the U.S. In addition, J.P. Morgan is expanding its commercial banking presence in Charlotte, and the Wells Fargo recruitment team keeps tabs on bulge-bracket bankers who may be open to a move.

“We want to pull people from the top five Wall Street banks, and a lot of those are based in New York – once they get here [to Charlotte] they love it, but sometimes it takes a bit of time to convince them,” Drake says.

Recruitment driving a change in culture

The scandals that have rocked Wells Fargo over the past few years have had an impact on recruitment, even for areas like investment banking that have not been implicated in any of the alleged wrongdoing.

“We’re in the midst of very substantial and significant change to the very center of who we are as an organization,” Drake says. “The sales practices situation took place outside our groups, but it is causing some real changes throughout the organization – and investment banking is a part of the whole, even though they think of themselves as being separate sometimes.

“Anyone we speak with who displays a reluctance to embrace change or a lack of resiliency, they’re just not going to survive here,” he says. “And culturally, we don’t tolerate people who don’t demonstrate an ability to get along well with their peers and others at the bank.

“People at other firms may not care about the amount of broken glass or the number of bodies they leave in their wake to get results, but we want to hire people who treat others with the dignity and respect they deserve and have a resiliency to change and demonstrate our core cultural requirements.”

Photo credit: Wells Fargo 5/2014 by Mike Mozart is is licensed under CC BY 2.0.b

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