Wells Fargo Hires Cummings to Expand Abbot Downing Unit

Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC), the bank with the biggest U.S. branch network, hired Paul Cummings as regional managing director for the Northeast to bring families with at least $50 million into its Abbot Downing advisory unit.

“My primary goal is to expand and grow throughout the Northeast -- to build out in other core wealth markets such as New York, the greater tri-state region as well as Massachusetts,” Cummings said in an interview.

Wells Fargo, based in San Francisco, started Abbot Downing in April after combining its former family office and Lowry Hill private asset management businesses. Abbot Downing generally courts families with at least $50 million in investable assets or $100 million in net worth. It manages $31 billion in assets, according to a statement today announcing the hire.

Cummings, 44, most recently was a managing director at Bank of America Corp. (BAC), having joined the Charlotte, North Carolina- based company in 2006. He previously was a managing director of the adviser wealth services group at Bank of New York Mellon Corp. (BK) He joined Abbot Downing on Oct. 19 and will have offices in Philadelphia and New York.

Wells Fargo also has been trying to build its private bank in New York, which caters to clients with at least $5 million invested with the unit. More established rivals in the region, such as the private banks of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and Citigroup Inc., generally work with people who have at least $25 million. Abbot Downing estimates there are almost 9,200 households with $25 million or more in assets in the Northeast, said Julie Yeager-Andrews, a spokeswoman.

To contact the reporter on this story: Margaret Collins in New York at mcollins45@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christian Baumgaertel at cbaumgaertel@bloomberg.net

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