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Wells Fargo’s investment bank is a ‘five- to 10-year play’

The asset cap imposed on Wells Fargo in 2018 has forced the bank to operate as efficiently as it can. Jon Weiss, CEO of corporate and investment banking, tells Euromoney that risk management remains his priority.

Photo: Reuters

Wells Fargo is in it for the long haul in its renewed drive to narrow the gap between its commercial and investment banking businesses.

Half a decade after a consumer-abuse scandal blew a previous attempt off course, Jon Weiss, chief executive of corporate and investment banking (CIB), describes it as “a five- to 10-year play, not a one- to two-year play.”

Weiss first started building Wachovia’s investment bank after arriving from JPMorgan in 2005. Wells Fargo’s opportunity in investment banking, as Weiss sees it, still springs from its 2009 merger with Wachovia. That created a new national champion, especially in consumer and mid-market lending.

One of our strengths is the diversification of our business
Jon Weiss, Wells Fargo

After the merger, Weiss continued to lead the investment bank with a view to building it up, alongside Rob Engel, now head of banking. Weiss then ran wealth and investment management at Wells between 2017 and 2020.

Today, as an investment bank, Wells remains a second-tier player, even in the US. The 2016 scandal, involving millions of fake customer accounts, firmly focused the group on improving operations and culture, rather than on growth, including in investment banking.


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