The move will reportedly impact 220 retirement plan clients, Wells Fargo announced. While the combined assets of the plans was not divulged by either the news release or spokesperson Suzanne Herbst,PLANSPONSOR.com’s original reports of the deal in March (See Harris Exits EB Biz, Turns to Wells ) put the combined assets as $1.4 billion.
Herbst did shed some light on the conversion process. Transfer of Chicago-based Harris’ retirement plan services business is effective Tuesday, with the conversion of plan assets set to take place on July 1. Herbst does not anticipate any trouble with the process since, “the system [AM Trust] that Harris is using today is a system we are familiar with.”
Asked if Wells Fargo, which has been aggressively pursuing acquisition targets in all aspects of its business, had any other possible takeover candidates, Herbst said the firm is “always looking for stuff, ” labeling retirement plan services the firm’s number one strategic initiative.
Harris’ decision to sell this business segment is hardly without precedent. Last year a number of providers folded their tents, or opted to rely on new partnerships to deliver these services, including:
- US Bank’s decision to hire out its recordkeeping to BISYS
- Wachovia’s acquisition of PFPC’s recordkeeping and third-party servicing business, as well as Wachovia’s more recent pickup of BONY’s business (See Wachovia Picks Up BoNY’s DC Recordkeeping, Trustee Offerings )
- Hewitt’s acquisition of Atlanta-based Northern Trust Retirement Consulting (NTRC) (See America’s Top Recordkeepers ).
Wells Fargo’s Institutional Trust business administers $345 billion in assets for more than one million retirement plan participants. Wells Fargo Institutional Trust is a division of Wells Fargo & Company.