Wells Fargo plans to sell its asset-management business to two private-equity firms — GTCR LLC and Reverence Capital Partners — for $2.1 billion, according to a statement Tuesday. The unit has $603 billion of assets under management and employs more than 450 people, the bank said.
"This transaction reflects Wells Fargo's strategy to focus on businesses that serve our core consumer and corporate clients, and will allow us to focus even more on growing our wealth and brokerage businesses," Barry Sommers, CEO of Wells Fargo's wealth and investment-management division, said in the statement.
The bank for months has weighed offloading several potentially non-core business units to save costs. Wells Fargo in December agreed to sell its student-loan portfolio worth $10 billion to a group including Apollo Global Management and Blackstone. The bank in October was reportedly considering selling its corporate-trust unit in a deal that could net the bank more than $1 billion.
However, Wells chose to keep its private-label credit card unit, Bloomberg reported this month. The bank had earlier reached out to potential buyers to offload its store-branded card and point-of-sale financing business, the wire service reported in November.
Wells Fargo will keep a 9.9% equity interest in the spun-off asset-management operation after the deal closes. That's expected in the second half of this year.
Nico Marais, who has led Wells Fargo Asset Management since 2019, will continue to oversee the business, Tuesday's statement said.
Wells Fargo "decided to focus on wealth," Marais told Bloomberg on Tuesday.
"It’s just important that if asset management is of lesser importance to them, it’s not a key strategic initiative, it is certainly much better for us to be independent," he said. “Being independent means we are agile, we can innovate, we can move rapidly, we have our own brand, we’re not affected by external brand issues, and we have capital."