Wells Fargo's (WFC) iconic stagecoach could soon be pulling up alongside the town cars favored by its Wall Street competitors.
Wells, whose quaint horse-drawn covered wagon logo is an apt metaphor for its traditional, risk-averse nature, has decided to build out its investment banking franchise. The move represents an about-face for Wells, which initially planned to sell off or wind down some key Wachovia operations that CEO John Stumpf deemed "not compatible" with its "vision and values."
The San Francisco-based company's roll of the dice on Wall Street is designed to take advantage of the disappearance or downsizing of big investment banks. The initiative, however, will be on Wells Fargo's own terms. The company has spent nine months deciding which Wachovia assets to keep, then soldering together its legacy investment banking division with the newly acquired, and arguably stronger, operations. The bank plans to unveil the new enterprise next week.
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