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Wells Fargo Names Nico Marais Head of Its Asset Management Unit

Marais will oversee Wells Fargo's $476 billion asset management unit, replacing Kristi Mitchem months after she left.

Wells Fargo & Co. has named Nico Marais chief executive officer of its asset management business, filling the role through an internal promotion months after the unit’s previous head left the bank.

Marais, who was co-CEO of the division alongside Kirk Hartman, will immediately replace Kristi Mitchem as the sole head of Wells Fargo Asset Management, according to a statement Thursday from the bank. Mitchem left in January to lead BMO Financial Group’s asset management unit. 

Marais will work closely with Hartman, who will become president of Wells Fargo Asset Management and continue in his role as chief investment officer. Wells Fargo Asset Management, which oversees $476 billion of assets tied to institutional and individual investors, is “a key part” of the bank’s wealth and investment management strategy, according to the statement. 

“I am confident that Nico is the right leader to take the business forward as it continues to grow and serve as a true partner to our clients,” Jonathan Weiss, head of wealth and investment management at Wells Fargo, said in the statement.

Marais — who previously held senior roles at Schroders, BlackRock, and Barclays — was hired by Mitchem in 2017 to head Wells Fargo Asset Management’s multi-asset solutions business. He was appointed co-CEO and president around the time of Mitchem’s departure, according to his LinkedIn page.

[II Deep Dive: Wells Fargo Asset Management Chief Kristi Mitchem Moves to BMO]

Mitchem was named CEO of Wells Fargo Asset Management in 2016, the year the bank was fined by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for opening millions of unauthorized credit card and deposit accounts on behalf of unsuspecting consumers. Last year the Federal Reserve said it would restrict the bank’s growth until its governance and risk management “sufficiently improves,” prompting Mitchem to say in a video message on Well Fargo’s website that the move would not curb the asset management unit’s ability to expand.

She became CEO of BMO Global Asset Management in March, according to the firm’s statement on her hire in January.

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